Two dead in Peru as protests escalate against new president

LIMA: Protests against Peru’s new government turned deadly on Sunday, with two people killed as police clashed with angry protesters calling for a nationwide strike, new elections and the release of detained former president Pedro Castle.
Protests have swelled, especially in northern and Andean cities, since the South American country’s legislature expelled leftist Castillo on Wednesday after he tried to disband Congress and rule by decree.
Dinah boluartea former prosecutor who had served as Castillo’s vice president, was quickly sworn in to replace him.
On Saturday, she presented her new cabinet, a group with an independent and technocratic profile and comprising eight women.
She named the former prosecutor Pedro Angulo as prime minister.
After his indictment, Castillo was quickly arrested, and on Sunday protesters in towns in the interior of the country, including Cajamarca, Arequipa, Huancayo, Cusco and Puno, demanded his release.
Fresh clashes erupted Sunday between protesters and police in the southern city of Andahuaylas, killing two and injuring at least five, including a policeman, as protesters attempted to storm the city’s airport, it said. authorities.
Riot police were deployed at the airport to contain the thousands of protesters in Andahuaylas, which is in Boluarte’s home region of Apurimac.
Protesters fired slingshots and threw rocks, while police responded with tear gas, footage of the scene broadcast by local television showed. A police station in the town of Apurimac in Huancabamba was set on fire, RPP radio reported.
“I urge people to stay calm,” Interior Minister Cesar Cervantes told the station, as he announced the second death shortly after police confirmed the first, a teenager.
Clashes in Andahuaylas on Saturday left 16 civilians and four police officers injured.
“No Peruvian life should be sacrificed for political interests,” Boluarte tweeted Sunday night, reiterating a call for “dialogue and the rejection of violence.”
The country’s right-wing Congress met in emergency session on Sunday afternoon to discuss the crisis, but had to be suspended after physical altercations broke out.
In footage posted to social media, a man can be seen punching another man from behind and then limbs jostling in the center of the chamber.
Some 1,000 to 2,000 people gathered in Lima on Sunday shouting “Castillo, you are not alone, the people support you” and holding signs accusing “Dina and Congress” of being “corrupt rats”. , before the police dispersed the crowd with tear gas.
Meanwhile, rural unions and organizations representing indigenous peoples have called for an “unlimited strike” from Tuesday in support of Castillo, himself the son of a peasant family.
They demanded the suspension of Congress, early elections and a new constitution as well as the immediate release of Castillo, according to a press release from the Agrarian and Rural Front of Peru, which brings together a dozen organizations.
The Rural Front argues that Castillo “did not carry out a coup” on Wednesday when he announced the suspension of Congress and said he would rule by decree.
With his background as a rural teacher and union leader, and with little contact with national elites, Castillo has always drawn his strongest support from the Andean regions, while struggling to find support on the coast of Lima.
The ousted president was arrested on Wednesday on his way to the Mexican embassy to seek asylum, and prosecutors have charged him with rebellion and conspiracy.
The demands for new elections come as recent polls show nearly nine in 10 Peruvians disapprove of the country’s legislature.
Political analyst Giovanna Penaflor told AFP that Boluarte – who did not rule out calling early elections on Friday – must clarify whether she intends to lead a transitional government or stay in power until in 2026.
“She should be clear that her role is to facilitate new general elections,” Penaflor added, saying it would bring needed stability and “allow this cabinet not to be like those of the past.”
Peru is now in its sixth president since 2016.
Castillo’s 17-month rule has been overshadowed by six investigations against him and his family, mass protests demanding his removal, and a power struggle with the opposition-backed Congress.


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