Peru. Thousands of people protested in Lima. The death toll from unrest across the country is rising
Thousands of demonstrators, angered by the rising death toll since unrest began in December 2022, have flocked to Lima, Peru’s capital. The police estimated that about 3,500 people took part in the march, but there may have been twice as many.
Over the past month, violent protests have sparked an outbreak of violence the likes of which has not been seen in Peru in more than 20 years, Reuters reported. At least 54 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since the riots began and another 772, including security forces, were injured, the Peruvian ombudsman’s office said on Thursday.
Rows of policemen in Lima fought back against stone-throwing protesters on Thursday, and one historic building in the historic center of the city, in San Martin square, caught fire. The fire brigade told local radio that the building was empty at the time of the fire, which had so far not been explained. Interior Minister Vicente Romero has cast doubt on claims circulating on social media that the fire was caused by a tear gas grenade thrown by a police officer.
In the southern city of Arequipa, police used tear gas on hundreds of protesters who, local TV showed, were trying to take over the airport, prompting authorities to suspend operations at Arequipa and Cusco airports.
The state of emergency in the country has been extended
Last week, the government of President Dina Boluarte extended state of emergency in Lima and in the southern cities of Puno and Cusco. Boluarte said the situation was “under control”. She asked the protesters for forgiveness for the deaths of some demonstrators. Protesters describe the president as a “murderer” and call the killings by security forces “massacres.”
Peru’s general prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation against Boluarte regarding the possibility that she and members of her government committed crimes during the pacification of the protests.
Participants in the protests, which have been going on since December, are demanding the release of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, his reinstatement as head of state and the organization of early parliamentary elections in the country in 2023. Many people from the country’s poorer, rural regions are venting their anger at Lima’s establishment over social inequalities and rising prices.
Riots in Peru broke out shortly after Castillo was arrested on December 7. After the dismissal of the left-wing politician, the former vice-president, Boluarte, was appointed to the highest office in the country.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/STR
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