At least 17 dead in anti-government protests in southern Peru | Protests News

The clashes in the city of Juliaca are the deadliest since unrest began when Pedro Castillo was sacked early last month.

At least 17 people have been killed in clashes in southern Peru after protests for early elections and the release of jailed former President Pedro Castillo resumed.

The country’s human rights office said on Monday that the dead in the city of Juliaca, where protesters were trying to gain control of the airport, included two teenagers. Another person is also believed to have been killed in the nearby city of Chucuito, where protesters blocked the highway, according to the Associated Press news agency.

That is the highest death toll since the unrest began in early December next Removal and capture of Castillo after a widely condemned attempt to dissolve Congress and fight his own impeachment. Castillo is being held for 18 months before trial on sedition charges, which he denies.

Castillo’s successor, his former spouse, Dina Boluarte, supported a plan to push for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2024, which was scheduled for 2026. She also expressed support. for judicial investigations into whether the security forces acted with excessive force.

But such moves have so far failed to end the unrest, which, after a brief break over the Christmas and New Year holidays, has resume in some of the poorest areas of Peru, where support was strongest for Castillo’s rule.

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

In Juliaca, near the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru’s southern Puno region, a Reuters witness captured footage of gunfire and smoke in the street as protesters hid behind large metal plates and signs traffic, while throwing rocks at the police with improvised slingshots.

Other footage shows people performing CPR on a man lying motionless on the ground in a bloodstained sweater and critically injured people in a crowded hospital waiting room.

Henry Rebaza, an official at the Puno Health Ministry, told Peruvian state TV channel TV that about 68 people were injured and several were taken to hospital. Puno’s regional medical director, Ismael Cornejo, told local radio station RPP that some of the bodies had bullet wounds.

An injured man is loaded into an ambulance by protesters and paramedics
Dozens of protesters were injured and taken to hospital [Hugo Courotto/Reuters]

The Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office said in a statement that the police and armed forces should not attempt to resolve conflicts because doing so is the duty of Congress and the central government.

It urges police to adhere to international standards in the use of force and investigates deaths, and urges protesters to refrain from attacking property or obstructing the movement of ambulances. .

Speaking at a “national agreement” meeting earlier on Monday with representatives from parts of the country and various political organisations, Boluarte said she could not accept some of the key demands of Protesters. She urged people to “reflect”.

“The only thing in my hands is to conduct the elections that we have proposed,” she said. “What you’re asking for is an excuse to keep creating chaos in cities.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said it would conduct a visit to Peru from Wednesday to Friday, traveling to Lima and other cities to assess the situation.

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