by Marco Aquino
LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s prosecutor’s office on Tuesday opened an investigation against President Dina Boluarte and members of her cabinet for their role in suppressing protests sparked by the sidelining of President Pedro Castillo last month.
The prosecution said an investigation for “genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries” had been opened against the president, Prime Minister Alberto Otarola, Defense Minister Jorge Chavez and Interior Minister Victor Rojas.
Seventeen civilians were killed Monday in clashes in the Puno region of southern Peru. The violence continued on Tuesday and a police officer died in the fire of his vehicle.
Human rights organizations have accused authorities of using firearms against protesters and launching smoke bombs from helicopters. The military said the protesters used weapons and homemade explosives.
Neither the Peruvian presidency nor the cabinets of ministers immediately responded to a request for comment.
The death toll from the protests now stands at 40 dead and hundreds injured.
The government of Dina Boluarte however won a vote of confidence on Tuesday evening by 73 votes against 43 and six abstentions.
(Report Marco Aquino, with the contribution of Carolina Pulice; written by Sarah Morland; French version Camille Raynaud)