QUITO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Ecuador on Thursday dispatched soldiers and police officers to an isolated jungle area after a violent protest against a Chinese copper exploration project left one policeman dead and several other security officials injured amid conflicts between mining companies and indigenous communities.
President Rafael Correa declared a 30-day state of emergency in the Morona Santiago province, home to the Panantza-San Carlos exploration project operated by the ExplorCobres company.
His government says "illegally-armed groups" protested against the project on Wednesday.
Local media reported that indigenous groups, who accuse authorities of generating violence by kicking them out of their ancestral home to make way for mining developments, staged the protest.
Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; and Leslie Adler