Peru roadblocks resume as president urges ‘peace, calm, unity’ | Protests News

Protests have flared up again in Peru after a holiday break, with many protesters demanding the removal of new President Dina Boluarte.

Anti-government protests and roadblocks resumed in Peru after a two-week pause as the South American nation continued to reel from last month’s impeachment. arrest and detention by former President Pedro Castillo.

Protesters in Peru on Wednesday used burning stones and tires to barricade major roads in the southern regions of Puno, Cusco, Apurimac and Arequipa, as well as in Junin, a province in the central part of the country. country.

Crowd chants to remove President Dina Boluartewho took over on 7 December after the opposition-organized Congress voted overwhelmingly to remove Castillo.

Castillo, former rural school teacher and union leader, who Inaugurated in July 2021was impeached after he tried to dissolve the legislature and rule by decree – a move many condemned as a coup attempt.

He was arrested shortly after the impeachment vote and was ordered to stay 18 months detention on charges of sedition and conspiracy, which Castillo denied.

The Leftist leader removed after months of escalating tensions with the Peruvian Congress over allegations of corruption. It fueled protests across the country, especially in rural areas where Castillo received much of his support.

In addition to Boluarte’s removal, protesters are also demanding the closure of Congress – where disapproval rates are high – along with changes to the Constitution and the release of Castillo.

The new government has agreed conduct elections between 2026 and April next year — another key demand of the protesters — but many want the vote to happen even sooner.

While protests subsided during the holiday period, representatives of civic groups and unions from 10 historic left-wing regions in southern Peru announced their resumption on Wednesday.

Government spokesman Alberto Otarola told reporters in the capital, Lima, where a crisis center was set up: “There are 10 areas under lockdown, mainly around Puno.

As a precaution, train service between the town of Cusco and the historic site of Machu Picchu was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday. About 2,000 tourists were escorted from the tourist site. In the first wave of protests, thousands of people were trapped in the area after traffic was disrupted.

Soldiers and policemen stand guard at an airport in Peru
Soldiers and police stand guard inside an airport to stop protesters in Arequipa, Peru, on January 4, 2023 [Jose Sotomayor/AP Photo]

In mid-December, Boluarte’s government declared 30 days, national emergencysuspended some civil liberties and allowed the police and military to be deployed in an effort to contain the protests.

Television footage on Wednesday showed police and the military guarding the headquarters of public organizations in areas where protests were declared, including Ayacucho, the center of recent unrest.

In a speech from Lima, Boluarte once again called to regain composure.

She blamed the protests for “delays, pain, economic damage” and called for “peace, calm, unity to promote the development of the homeland”.

But in the mountainous region of Apurimac, protest leader Milan Knezvich said the struggle would continue. “No one would want to talk to her. As long as Mrs. Dina Boluarte not resign, this will continue,” he told Exitosa radio.

On Tuesday, thousands of people marched in Lima and elsewhere demanding “peace and quiet”. The country’s human rights inspectorate says 22 people have been killed in protest-related clashes and more than 600 injured so far.

People march during a protest for peace in Lima, Peru
People walk during a march demanding peace, in Lima, January 3, 2023 [Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters]


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