updated 6/7/2009 1:29:51 PM ET 2009-06-07T17:29:51

Peru's worst political violence in years has seen 22 police officers and at least 30 Amazon Indians killed in a bloody fight against efforts to exploit natural resources on native lands.

Nine more officers died Saturday.

The fighting began when security forces moved early Friday to break up a roadblock manned by 5,000 protesters.

Indians have been blocking roads, waterways and a state oil pipeline intermittently since April 9, demanding that Peru's government repeal laws they say help foreign companies exploit their lands.

Indian leaders and environmental groups say the laws, decreed by President Alan Garcia open communal jungle lands and water resources to oil drilling, logging, mining and large-scale farming without their consent.

Garcia defends the laws as necessary to help develop Peru.

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