Protesters in Peru refuse to back down as political crisis deepens

At the same time, prosecutors announced an investigation into the protester’s death, and Peru’s official human rights watchdog called on security forces to ensure that officials “have sufficient experience, training and competence to participate in the control of protests without abusing their positions”.

Protesters without a clear leader have demands ranging from the restoration of President Castillo to the establishment of a constitutional assembly to restructure the economy in favor of the poor.

On December 9, Peruvians protested the arrest of Pedro Castillo in Lima.

On December 9, Peruvians protested the arrest of Pedro Castillo in Lima.Credit:Bloomberg

The only common denominator is that almost the entire country — 83 percent of Peruvians — wants new elections and rid itself of the current scandal-ridden Congress.

“Castillo is our president, elected by humble working people from the countryside. He represents us. He understands our struggles, our needs,” said Alfonso Nahuinche, 47, a tailor He said he had been participating in daily protests in Puno de Titicaca.

“That’s why they didn’t like him in Lima. I think he was installed by the right-wing Congress,” Nahuinche said. “Impeachment is not just a denial of Castillo. It is a denial of us.”

Conspiracy theories about Castillo have been spreading, with Congressman and Castillo’s first prime minister Guido Belido even claiming that the former president was drugged when he appeared on television last week with visibly shaking hands, declaring He is dissolving Congress and will rule by decree.

“I think the president was coerced when he read that statement. You could tell he was scared. He wasn’t himself,” Nahuinche said.

Another demonstrator, Brígida Curo, accused MPs of being “coup mongers, neoliberals and racists” who could not tolerate Castillo as president because he had a peasant or a peasant background. background.

“That’s why we need a constitutional convention,” added Kuro, 40, deputy secretary of the Puno Farmers’ Federation.

“Evo Morales has a plan in Bolivia,” she said of the socialist former president in Peru’s neighbor. “He brings development. Castillo is trying to do the same here. That’s why he has to be stopped.”

Some protests have been violent. But many demonstrators were simply trying to express their anger at the ouster of a president whose populist promises to eradicate poverty gained support, especially in rural areas.


But senior officials, including Boluarte, who is from the same Marxist-Leninist Liberal Peruvian Party as Castillo, have dismissed at least some of the demonstrations as “terrorism” — a battle between Maoist rebels and the state in Peru. The conflict killed nearly 70,000 people, which is a particularly weighty word.

Eduardo González, a sociologist who advised Peru’s official truth and reconciliation commission after violence in the 1980s and 1990s, warned that there was an urgent need for authorities to recognize the legitimacy of protesters’ grievances.

“This is weaponized language. Calling protesters ‘terrorists’ dehumanizes them, based on our history,” Gonzalez said. “It justifies the use of violence against them. We are reaching a level of polarization from which there will be no turning back.”

The chances of de-escalation appear to have diminished after lawmakers rejected Boluarte’s call for early elections on Friday. The congressional move was widely interpreted in Peru as a desperate attempt by lawmakers to keep high-paying jobs.

Efforts to push for early elections have been stymied by far-right lawmakers who spearheaded the ouster of Castillo and far-left lawmakers who still support the former president. The alliance has become a feature of Peruvian politics over the past 17 months, as the two sides found common ground in blocking anti-corruption measures.

The vast majority of Peruvians disapprove of Congress, and there are growing calls for Castillo’s supporters to consider Boluarte a “usurper” who resigns to force new elections. But even that may not quell the turmoil.

Under the Constitution, she is to be replaced by Speaker of Congress, and now Cy Williams, a conservative former general, is anathema to most demonstrators. Boluarte’s resignation would also pre-empt any political reforms to ensure a more sustainable outcome from the next election.

Newspaper columnist Augusto Álvarez Rodrich wrote on Saturday that the congressman was “more corrupt and mediocre than Pedro Castillo,” warning Their intransigence is tantamount to playing with fire in a society that has become a “powder keg”.

“There is no doubt that Peru will improve,” Roderich wrote. “But first things will get worse.”

Washington post

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