The day of strikes and protests held Thursday throughout Peru against the government of President Dina Boluarte ended with one dead and 38 injured. This is the assessment drawn up by the Minister of the Interior, Vicente Romero, who has appealed to the demonstrators to “abandon violence”. The deceased, Romero said in a press conference held at the end of the day, is a protester who was participating in the clashes with the forces of order that took place around the international airport of the city of Arequipa, in the south of the country. This brings the number of people who have lost their lives since the beginning of the crisis to 52 (51 demonstrators, a policeman). Human rights groups have accused the police and army of using lethal firearms during the protests. Police say protesters used weapons and homemade explosives.
Clashes also in Lima
For the first time since the beginning of the protests after the dismissal of former president Castillo, violent clashes between demonstrators and the police also took place yesterday in Lima. The spark that unleashed the pitched battle that lasted several hours in the center of the capital broke out when a procession of around a hundred people tried to force a police cordon that prevented access to Congress Square. While street protests were still raging across the country and televisions broadcast images of a burning building near the government building, President Boluarte issued a video message in which she warned that “acts of violence will not go unpunished” .
The riots broke out on 7 December
The clashes mark the worst violence Peru has seen in more than 20 years, as many people in rural regions vent their anger against Lima’s political elite. A crisis that reflects the enormous gap between the capital and the poor provinces that had seen in the election of President Castillo, of Amerindian origin, a revenge against the contempt of Lima. Unrest in Peru erupted after the deposition and arrest, on December 7, of leftist President Pedro Castillo, accused of attempting a coup to dissolve Parliament which was preparing to oust him from power.
The Aymara community is also in the square
The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Boluarte, new elections, and the release of Castillo, who was impeached and imprisoned for rebellion after attempting a coup. The demonstration, called by the unions on strike and by social organizations, aims to bring together the protest, initially relegated to the poorest provinces and with a peasant and indigenous majority, directly at the gates of the government building. In the early hours of Thursday there were already several processions that were gathering at various access points to the capital. Among these is the one made up of 11,000 representatives of the Aymara community of the Andean region of Puno, the epicenter of the anti-government protest and where, in recent weeks alone, over twenty deaths have been recorded.
Massive police deployment
The attitude of the Boluarte government, instead of containing popular discontent and anger, in recent weeks has done nothing but inflame them. And the state of emergency in Lima, with the massive deployment of police ordered by the president to defend the center of the capital – around 12,000 police officers guarding the main entrances – are confirmation of this.