Protests against the government of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, which have claimed the lives of 47 people since they began a month ago, are spreading in the south of the Andean country.
Health officials in the tourist city of Cusco said 16 civilians and six police officers were injured after protesters tried to take over the city’s airport, where many foreign tourists arrive to visit attractions like the nearby Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Protests and roadblocks against Ms. Boluarte and in support of ousted President Pedro Castillo were also observed in 41 provinces, mostly in southern Peru.
The unrest began in early December after the destitute and arrest of Mr. Castillo, Peru’s first president of humble, rural origins, after his widely condemned attempt to dissolve Congress and thwart his own impeachment.
The protests, mainly in neglected rural areas of the country still loyal to Mr Castillo, are demanding immediate elections, Ms Boluarte’s resignation, Mr Castillo’s release and justice for protesters killed in clashes with police.
Some of the worst protest violence happened on Monday when 17 people were killed in clashes with police in the town of Juliaca, near Lake Titicaca, and protesters later attacked and burned a police officer.
In all, the Peruvian Ombudsman’s office said 39 civilians were killed in clashes with police and another seven died in traffic accidents related to roadblocks, as did the fallen police officer.
The Peruvian government has announced a three-day curfew from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. in Puno.
The National Prosecutor’s Office said it has requested information from the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Defense and Interior Ministries into an investigation it has launched into Ms Boluarte and other officials over the protest deaths.
In Juliaca, in Puno province, a crowd marched alongside the coffins of the 17 people killed in Monday’s protests.
“Dina killed me with bullets,” read a note attached to Eberth Mamani Arqui’s coffin, in reference to Peru’s current president.
“This democracy is no longer a democracy,” chanted the victims’ relatives.
As they passed a police station guarded by dozens of officers, the protesters shouted, “Murderers!”
Meanwhile, a delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began a visit to Peru to investigate the protests and the police response.
Ms. Boluarte was Castillo’s former running mate before assuming the presidency. She has said she supports a plan to postpone the presidential election to 2024, which was originally scheduled to be held in 2026.
She has also expressed her support for judicial inquiries into whether the security forces used excessive force.
But such moves have so far failed to quell unrest, which, after a brief respite around the Christmas and New Year holidays, flared up in violence in some of Peru’s poorest areas.
Mr. Castillo, a political novice who lived in a two-story mud house in the Andean highlands before moving to the presidential palace, won a narrow victory in the 2021 election that shook Peru’s political establishment and exposed deep divisions among the country’s residents Capital Lima and the long-neglected countryside.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/peru-anti-government-protests-spread-through-the-countrys-south-42280484.html The protests against the government in Peru spread in the south of the country