Demonstrations in Peru: the state of emergency in force in Lima

The state of emergency was in effect Sunday in the Peruvian capital Lima and other regions of this country faced with demonstrations against President Dina Boluarte which have left at least 42 people dead in the country for five weeks.

This measure, decreed on Saturday and in force for 30 days, authorizes the army to intervene to maintain order and leads to the suspension of several constitutional rights such as freedom of movement and assembly and the inviolability of the home, according to a decree published Saturday evening in the official journal.

Police fire tear gas at protesters on January 11, 2023 in Cusco, Peru (AFP/Archives – Ivan Flores)

In addition to the capital, the departments of Cusco and Puno (south) are notably subject to a state of emergency, as is the port of Callao, next to Lima.

More than a hundred roadblocks blocked traffic across Peru on Saturday, mainly in the south, the epicenter of the protest, but also around Lima.

The authorities, however, reopened the international airport of Cusco, of vital importance for the Peruvian tourist sector, on Saturday, after having closed it on Thursday.

Police officers stand guard outside the entrance to Cusco International Airport on January 12, 2023 in Peru (AFP/Archives - Ivan Flores)
Police officers stand guard outside the entrance to Cusco International Airport on January 12, 2023 in Peru (AFP/Archives – Ivan Flores)

On the other hand, trains to Machu Picchu, the only way to access the famous site, were still suspended, and local unions say the tourism sector is losing up to seven million soles (about 1.7 million euros). euros) per day due to the crisis.

The protests erupted after the dismissal and arrest on December 7 of Socialist President Pedro Castillo, accused of having attempted to perpetrate a coup by wanting to dissolve the Parliament which was preparing to oust him from power.

– Take “control” of Lima –

Ms. Boluarte, who was Mr. Castillo’s vice-president, succeeded him in accordance with the Constitution and is from the same left-wing party as him. But the demonstrators, who see her as a “traitor”, demand her departure as well as immediate elections. For the moment, Ms. Boluarte refuses to resign.

Demonstrators march to pay tribute to the victims of previous demonstrations and demand the resignation of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, on January 12, 2023 in Arequipa, Peru (AFP/Archives - Diego Ramos)
Demonstrators march to pay tribute to the victims of previous demonstrations and demand the resignation of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, on January 12, 2023 in Arequipa, Peru (AFP/Archives – Diego Ramos)

Demonstrations have been announced for Monday in Lima as well as in the marginalized regions of the southern Andes, which have been the epicenter of the protests.

Some groups of protesters from the south plan to go to Lima to take “control of the city”.

“We made the decision to go to Lima” from Monday, announced Julio Vilca, a leader of the protest from the province of Ilave, in the Puno region, in the south of the country.

“We cannot tell the time, because what we want is to travel in unity,” he stressed.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which completed an inspection mission in Peru on Friday, called for an impartial investigation into the crackdown on the protests, saying there were signs pointing to “excessive use of force”. .

The government attributes the unrest to “professional agitators funded by illegal money”.

Relatives of demonstrators killed in clashes wait for the bodies to be handed over in front of the Juliaca morgue on January 10, 2023 in Peru (AFP/Archives - Juan Carlos CISNEROS)
Relatives of demonstrators killed in clashes wait for the bodies to be handed over in front of the Juliaca morgue on January 10, 2023 in Peru (AFP/Archives – Juan Carlos CISNEROS)

Police announced the arrest of a trade union leader from the Ayacucho region, Rocio Leandro, accused of financing the protests and recruiting protesters.

According to a police spokesman, General Oscar Arriola, Ms Leandro belonged, under the nom de guerre of “Comrade Cusi”, to the defunct Maoist armed group Shining Path.

Dina Boluarte is the sixth person to occupy the Peruvian presidency in five years, in a country which is experiencing a permanent political crisis punctuated by suspicions of corruption.

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