Peruvian President Dina Boluarte called on Tuesday for a “national truce” while in Lima, a new large demonstration demanding her departure was the scene of violent clashes. The mobilization is not weakening with a national day of protest and marches scheduled for Wednesday in many cities across the country.
In Lima, several thousand protesters from the Andean regions — poor –, many in traditional dress, marched through the center, carrying Peruvian flags and shouting “Dina assassine”, in reference to the 46 people killed since the start. of the dispute in December.
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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 AFP, who witnessed the arrests.
Several people were injured by projectiles or hit by gas during the most violent day of demonstrations in Lima since the beginning of the unrest. Two photographers, including one from AFP, were hit by pellets and stones.
“Restore the dialogue”
Before this large rally, the second in Lima in a few days, Dina Boluarte had once again tried to defuse tensions, calling on her “dear homeland for a national truce” to “restore dialogue”, “set an agenda for each region” and “develop” the country. “I do not intend to stay in power,” she promised, ensuring that she wanted to respect the Constitution and withdraw in the elections brought forward to 2024. Visibly moved, Dina Boluarte also asked “forgiveness for the dead “, promising investigations to determine the authors.
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An intervention without effect on the demonstrators. “We listened to Madame Boluarte. His vision is pathetic. The Peruvian people, all of us, we are not going to have a truce. We have nothing to discuss with Madame Boluarte. The only thing the people want is for her to resign and for there to be new elections,” said Carlos Avedano, 35, wearing 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 cry? “We demand: one, that she resign; two, change Congress; then new elections. We want a transitional government,” she said.
Closure of Cusco airport
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 getting paid, and now they’re trampling on us. We are ready for all fights,” he swears.
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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.
The troubles began on December 7 after the dismissal and arrest of Pedro Castillo, accused of having attempted a coup d’etat by wanting to dissolve the Parliament which was preparing to oust him from power.
Dina 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 are no victims here, Mr. Castillo: there is a country that is bleeding because of your irresponsibility,” she said, 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 Pedro Castillo and saw his election as revenge for what they see as Lima’s contempt.
Dina 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 by repression. “I will come before the OAS to tell the truth. The Peruvian government and especially Dina Boluarte have nothing to hide. Fifty people died (by adding the deaths due to the blocking of the roads, editor’s note), it hurts me, ”she said.