new clashes between police and demonstrators; blockades create shortages

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Lima (AFP) – Exchanges of stones and tear gas were registered on Thursday in the center of Lima, where a peaceful march led to clashes with the Police on a day also marked by shortages of fuel and some food in impoverished regions after six weeks of roadblocks.

At various points in the historic center of Lima, hooded demonstrators, armed with stones and explosives, confronted the riot police. The officials responded with tear gas and pellets, while hundreds of people gathered peacefully in Plaza Dos de Mayo.

“We are fighting against this dictatorship of Dina Boluarte,” said Eduardo Vásquez, a Lima protester who distributed more than 500 servings of cau cau, a typical dish with beef belly, to protesters in the provinces.

“We are going to continue until the last consequences to achieve the objective, which is the resignation of Dina Boluarte,” he warned.

Hours before, relatives of victims in the protests against Boluarte demanded “justice” and blamed her for the 46 deaths in 50 days of demonstrations.

Police officers operate as people take part in an anti-government demonstration following the ouster of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima, Peru, January 26, 2023.
Police officers operate as people take part in an anti-government demonstration following the ouster of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, in Lima, Peru, January 26, 2023. REUTERS – SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA

“I only ask for Justice. I ask you to help us because no one is going to return my brother to me,” said María Samillán, sister of doctor Marco Antonio Samillán, who died in protests in the mining city of Juliaca, in Puno, crying.

Samillán, declared by zoom from Juliaca, in a press conference with the National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH), to describe the death of his brother, a 31-year-old doctor who was shot when he was trying to save the lives of those injured in the protest along with several nurses.

In this very poor region of the southern Andes, on January 9 a confrontation with law enforcement during the attempt to take over the airport ended with 18 people dead, including a policeman burned alive.

The cities of Juliaca and Puno, more than 1,350 km south of Lima, are the scene of the most violent protests.

Peru is going through a deep institutional crisis, with a succession of six presidents in five years, most of them dismissed, the last of them the rural teacher Pedro Castillo, expelled by Congress after several attempts the day he announced that he would dissolve the Legislature, would govern by decree and the Justice would intervene.

Airlift against blockades

With non-stop protests, roadblocks have caused fuel and food shortages, in addition to a sharp increase in prices of basic products, which affects the most vulnerable populations in the country.

The chief of staff, Alberto Otárola, announced the implementation of an airlift to the Amazon region of Madre de Dios, 1,400 km southeast of Lima, which will allow five tons of food to be brought to alleviate the shortages caused by the blockade of the Interoceanic highway. , highway that connects the southern coast of Peru with Brazilian cities.

On Thursday, the transport authorities counted 88 pickets blocking highways in eight of the 25 Peruvian regions that are calling for Boluarte’s resignation.

The blockades generate shortages of basic products and liquefied petroleum gas, the main fuel for vehicles and domestic use in Peru, in Cusco, Arequipa, Tacna and Puno, southern regions that claim to be the poorest, forgotten and discriminated against by their majority populations. indigenous.

unprecedented repression

After presenting a report entitled “50 days of Repression in Peru, Violations of Human Rights”, the National Human Rights Coordinator in Peru called for an end to police violence in the protests, especially in the southern Andes, regions that supported the government of the ousted leftist president Pedro Castillo.

Cars queue at a gas station in Arequipa, Peru, on January 25, 2023.
Cars queue at a gas station in Arequipa, Peru, on January 25, 2023. © Ivan Flores / AFP

“We are at levels of repression that are unprecedented in Peruvian democracy. At the moment there is talk of 57 people who have died since Dina Boluarte took office and of these there are 46 extrajudicial executions by the police and the army,” said lawyer Mar Pérez, who deplored the use of “weapons of war.”

Boluarte said at the beginning of the week that he recognized the right to protest and reiterated his “sorry” for those who died in this crisis that Peru has been experiencing since he assumed the presidency on December 7, after the removal of former President Castillo.

“I have also gone out to march for fair labor and student struggles, but the protests cannot be accompanied by violence, destruction and death,” he said.

“What do we do in the face of threats? Do we let them burn us alive like they burned the police in Puno and set our houses on fire? We have to protect the lives of 33 million Peruvians. Puno is not Peru,” Boluarte remarked.

with AFP

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Written by Editor TLN

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