13 dead in Peru clashing amid new anti-government protests

City of Lima, Peru –

At least 13 people were killed on Monday in southeastern Peru as protests demanding immediate elections continued in abandoned rural areas of the country still loyal to the ousted president. Pedro Castillo.

Peru’s top human rights agency has called for an investigation into the deaths, 12 of which occurred amid clashes between security forces and protesters trying to take control of an airport in the city of Juliaca. near the border with Bolivia.

That is the highest death toll since unrest began in early December after Castillo was removed from office and arrested following a widely condemned attempt to dissolve Congress and fight his own impeachment. he. Among the 12 people killed in Juliaca was a 17-year-old man, according to news reports. The 13th person died in the nearby city of Chucuito, where protesters blocked the highway.

Castillo’s successor, his former life partner, Dina Boluarte, has supported a plan to hasten the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2024, originally scheduled for 2026. She also expressed support. for judicial investigations into whether the security forces acted excessively.

But such moves have so far failed to quell the unrest, and after a brief break over the Christmas and New Year holidays, violence has flared up again in some of the poorest parts of the country. Peru, where support is strongest for Castillo’s unorthodox rule.

Nationwide, protests were reported in about 13% of Peru’s provinces on Monday, many of which included roadblocks that prevented truck drivers from transporting products to market.

With Monday’s casualties, the death toll in clashes with security forces rose to 34. Hundreds of others were treated for their injuries.

Boluarte’s government has accused former Bolivian President Evo Morales of fueling the unrest. On Monday, officials issued an order to prevent the influential leftist leader from entering the country for national security reasons. Authorities say eight of Morales’ allies – who are also banned – recently traveled to Peru to coordinate protests in the border area separating the two countries.

Castillo, a political novice who lived in a two-story brick house in the Andean highlands before moving to the presidential palace, won a narrow election last year that rocked Peru’s political establishment. and expose the deep divisions among the inhabitants of the vibrant land. the capital Lima and the long forgotten countryside.

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