Peruvian police have arrested a leader of anti-mining protests in a southern province where the government declared a 30-day state of emergency after two people were killed in clashes with police.

Regional police chief Col. Gaston Rodriguez says Herbert Huaman was arrested Tuesday while talking to reporters. No arrest warrant was needed under the emergency.

Espinar province Mayor Oscar Mollohuanca, who backs the protest, said by telephone that he has gone into hiding to avoid arrest.

Protesters battled police on Monday outside the Tintaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata. Some demonstrators set fire to a company social outreach office, and a government vehicle was torched.

Opponents claim the mine threatens their water and sickens their livestock.

Xstrata is the world's fourth-largest copper producer. It denies the mine pollutes.