Peru: national day of protest against President Boluarte

Peru is preparing to experience a new national day of protest against President Dina Boluarte on Wednesday, the day after violent clashes in Lima.

The leader called for a “national truce” on Tuesday, as 46 people have been killed since the protests began in December.

In Lima, several thousand protesters from the Andean regions — poor –, many in traditional dress, marched through the center on Tuesday, carrying Peruvian flags and shouting “Dina murders”.

Significant clashes took place in the late afternoon and evening between demonstrators, some of whom were equipped with iron shields, who were throwing stones, and numerous police officers who were charging with tear gas, noted journalists from the ‘AFP, who witnessed the arrests.

Two photographers, including one from AFP, were hit by pellets and stones.

– “No truce!” –

Before this large gathering, the second in Lima in a few days, Ms. Boluarte had once again tried to defuse tensions, calling for “reestablishing dialogue”, “setting an agenda for each region” and “developing” the country.

“I have no intention of staying in power,” she promised, assuring that she wanted to respect the Constitution and step down in the elections brought forward to 2024.

Visibly moved, Ms. Boluarte also asked for “pardon for the dead”, promising investigations to determine the perpetrators.

An intervention without effect on the demonstrators.

“We listened to Mrs. Boluarte. Her vision is lamentable. The Peruvian people, all of us, we are not going to have a truce. We have nothing to discuss with Mrs. Boluarte. The only thing the people want is let her resign and let there be new elections,” said Carlos Avedano, 35, waving the tricolor of Andahuaylas, the epicenter of the unrest in December.

“We no longer believe his words,” says Rosa Soncco, 37, from Acomayo, at more than 3,000 meters above sea level, in the Cuzco region (south). “There are 50 dead. How many mothers are crying?”

“We demand: one, that she resign; two, change Congress; then new elections. We want a transitional government,” she said.

A protester brandished a large doll holding a bloody knife, decked out with a photo of the interim president, who came to power after the dismissal in early December of the former left-wing president, Pedro Castillo.

In the procession paraded dozens of army reservists wearing pants, caps or khaki jerseys. “The accursed (leaders) have trampled on us for decades but now the people have risen,” said Crispin Quispe, a reservist from the Puno region. “We fought, being hungry, being cold. Without being paid, and now they are trampling on us. We are ready for all the fights”, he swears.

In the evening, the authorities announced the closure of the airport of Cuzco, the tourist capital of the country, in addition to those of the airports of Puno and Arequipa.

– “Irresponsibility” –

The troubles began on December 7 after the dismissal and arrest of Mr. Castillo, accused of having attempted a coup d’etat by wanting to dissolve the Parliament which was preparing to oust him from power.

Mrs Boluarte, his former vice-president and running mate in the 2021 elections, attacked him verbally.

“It suited him to make this coup in order to pose as a victim (…) and not to answer before the prosecutor for the acts of corruption of which he is accused. There is no victim here, Mr. Castillo: there is a country that is bleeding because of your irresponsibility”, she launched, stressing that she had the same modest and Andean origins as him.

The crisis reflects the huge rift between the capital and the impoverished provinces, which backed Mr Castillo and saw his election as revenge for what they see as Lima’s contempt.

Ms. Boluarte is due to speak on Wednesday before the Organization of American States (OAS) while the international community and human rights associations have criticized a “disproportionate” use of force in repression.

“I will appear before the OAS to tell the truth. The Peruvian government and especially Dina Boluarte have nothing to hide. , did she say.

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