The violent confrontations with the Police in the protests on Saturday in Lima left a dead protesterthe first in the capital after weeks of riots in southern Andean regions of Peru calling for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
(Read: The keys to find an exit door in Peru)
With the death of Saturday they add 48 dead —among them a policeman— in the framework of the demonstrations that began the second week of December, had a truce at the end of the year and resumed on January 4 in Puno, south of the border with Bolivia.
“We regret the death of Víctor Santisteban Yacsavilca in the violent demonstrations today (Saturday),” the Ombudsman’s Office reported on its Twitter account without specifying how the protester died on an afternoon where there were injuries and detainees, according to a journalist from the AFP. This is the first death from the protests that occurs in Limaafter Congress refused to advance the elections for this year as Boluarte had requested on Friday.
Precisely, this week Boluarte had said in a recount to the foreign press that the groups behind the violent protests “They are looking for a death in Lima”. “They say that a death in Lima is worth a hundred in the province,” lamented the president on Tuesday at the Government Palace.
With struggles against the fence that protects the Congress in Lima, hundreds of hooded demonstrators, with homemade shields, stones and pieces of cement torn from public buildings, confronted the police in a new episode of violence around peaceful marches calling for the resignation of the President and early elections.
With the sound of detonations of tear gas bombs, the center of Lima was a battlefield, in the midst of a social upheaval that after 52 days of the Boluarte government shows no signs of subsiding. “Not one more dead, Dina murderess” they repeated in the march that began as a popular party with musical bands from the Andes and artists until a group of hooded men advanced to the surroundings of the Congressheavily guarded by riot police, unleashing heavy clashes in which at least two were injured, one of them a policeman.
Boluarte also calls for elections
The president regretted the vote after midnight on Saturday against the advancement of the general elections for this year, and urged congressmen to set aside personal and partisan interests to “pave a way out of the political crisis.” “We urge the benches to put down their partisan interests and place the interests of Peru above,” Boluarte wrote on Twitter.
We regret that the Congress of the Republic has not been able to agree to define the date of the general elections where Peruvians can freely and democratically elect the new authorities (1/2)
– Presidency of Peru 🇵🇪 (@presidenciaperu) January 28, 2023
Before the violent eruption, hundreds of people from Lima and the mostly indigenous provinces gathered in Plaza San Martín to the call for the “March for the resignation of Dina Boluarte and early elections.” “Without justice, peace is hypocrisy”said the banner of a group of ‘mourning clowns’ who paraded with Andean music in the background.
A few blocks away, the Concert for Peace was held, another demonstration but organized by civil groups that support the work of law enforcement.
Peru is since seven weeks scene of demonstrations calling for the resignation of Boluarte, who took over as vice president after the dismissal and arrest of leftist president Pedro Castillo on December 7 for having tried to dissolve Parliament.
The clashes have also left 48 dead, including a policeman burned alive, 10 civilians who died in events related to the blockades, according to the Ombudsman’s Office. The Andean south, where historically neglected Quechua and Aymara communities live, has remained on the warpath demanding Boluarte’s resignation and elections.
Congress, with another look
After a session of more than seven hours, Congress rejected an advance of the general elections to 2023 early Saturday morningas President Boluarte had requested in view of the worsening situation and in an attempt to find a way out of the serious social and political crisis that the country has been experiencing for the past seven weeks.
The proposal presented by Fujimori congressman Hernando Guerra García, from the right-wing Fuerza Popular (FP) party, was defeated by 65 votes to 45, therefore the project to hold the general elections in April 2024 is maintained. The proposal even anticipated the elections for October so that the president, congressmen and elective authorities hand over power in December 2023.
But the left insisted that a referendum on the Constituent Assembly should be included, a proposal rejected by a broad spectrum of Peruvian politics. Other forces denounced an alleged maneuver to take electoral advantage by Fuerza Popular, party of former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori.
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