Monday, December 12, 2022

Protests against Peru's new president have resulted in the deaths of two people

Two killed in Peru as protests spread against new president


LIMA: Two people were killed on Sunday as police clashed with irate protesters calling for a national strike, new elections, and the release of detained former president Pedro Castillo during protests against the new government in Peru.

Since the leftist Castillo was overthrown by the South American nation's legislature on Wednesday for attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, protests have increased, particularly in the northern and Andean towns.

Dina Boluarte, a former prosecutor and vice president of Castillo, was quickly sworn in as his successor.

She presented her new cabinet on Saturday, an eight-woman group with an independent and technocratic profile.

She appointed Pedro Angulo, a former prosecutor, as prime minister.

Castillo was swiftly arrested following his impeachment, and on Sunday, protesters in the interior cities of Cajamarca, Arequipa, Huancayo, Cusco, and Puno demanded his release.

Authorities said that as protesters attempted to storm the city's airport, new clashes with police broke out on Sunday in the southern city of Andahuaylas, leading to the deaths of two people and the injuries of at least five others, including a police officer.

To contain the thousands of protesters in Andahuaylas, which is in Boluarte's home region of Apurimac, riot police were sent to the airport.

Images from the scene that were shown by local television showed that protesters hurled rocks and slingshots at the police, and that the police responded with tear gas. RPP radio reported that a police station in the Apurimac town of Huancabamba was set on fire.

When Interior Minister Cesar Cervantes announced the second death, a teenager, shortly after police confirmed the first, he told the station, "I urge people to remain calm."

On Saturday, 16 civilians and four police officers were injured in clashes in Andahuaylas.

Boluarte reiterated his call for "dialogue and the rejection of violence" in a Sunday evening tweet, stating that "no Peruvians life should be sacrificed for political interests."

The nation's right-inclining Congress gathered in crisis meeting Sunday evening to talk about the emergency, yet must be suspended after actual squabbles broke out.

Images shared on social media show a man punching another man in the back, followed by members pushing each other in the middle of the room.

On Sunday, between 1,000 and 2,000 people gathered in Lima and chanted, "Castillo you are not alone, the people support you." They also held signs that called "Dina and Congress" "corrupt rats," and police used tear gas to clear the crowd.

In the meantime, Indigenous peoples' organizations and rural unions called for an "indefinite strike" to start on Tuesday in support of Castillo, who is himself the son of a peasant family.

According to a statement issued by the Agrarian and Rural Front of Peru, which includes approximately a dozen organizations, they demanded Castillo's immediate release in addition to the suspension of Congress, early elections, and a new constitution.

When Castillo announced on Wednesday that he would be ruling by decree and that he would suspend Congress, the Rural Front asserts that Castillo "did not perpetrate a coup d'etat."

With his experience as a rustic educator and association pioneer, and with little contact with the country's elites, Castillo has consistently drawn his most grounded help from Andean locales, while battling to track down moving in seaside Lima.

Prosecutors have filed charges against the ousted president for rebellion and conspiracy after he was apprehended on Wednesday while on his way to the Mexican embassy to apply for asylum.

Recent polls indicate that nearly nine out of ten Peruvians disapprove of the country's legislature, prompting calls for new elections.

According to political analyst Giovanna Penaflor, who spoke to AFP, Boluarte needs to make it clear whether she intends to lead a transitional government or remain in power until 2026. On Friday, Boluarte did not rule out calling early elections.

Penaflor added, "She should be clear that her role is to facilitate new general elections." He stated that doing so would provide the stability that is required and "allow this cabinet to not be like those in the past."

Since 2016, Peru has had six presidents.

Six investigations against Castillo and his family, massive protests calling for his removal, and a power struggle with the opposition-backed Congress all overshadowed his 17-month rule.

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