Three people were killed and eight others hurt in clashes between police and protesters in the northern Dominican town of Salcedo, authorities said Friday.

All three of the dead were civilians and at least two of them perished of gunshot wounds.

Two police were injured and dozens of people arrested, including six protesters said to have been carrying guns.

Community organizations launched the protests to demand the arrest of a cop they say is responsible for the May 14 killing of area resident Hector Medina.

Radio station Z-101 quoted National Police commander Jose Armando Polanco Gomez as blaming the protests on "some anarchists who don't respect (legal) norms."

He also accused the Salcedo coordinator of the Broad Front of National Struggle, or FALPO, Dario Antonio Camilo Ortega, of having encouraged demonstrators to confront police with guns.

Two police generals were sent to Salcedo on Thursday with orders to seek a negotiated solution to the dispute.

While representatives of the Catholic Church and the municipal administration met with the police brass, the most militant element among the protesters boycotted the talks. EFE