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The blockades continue after a long day of protests against the Boluarte government

At least two people died in southern Peru and extensive material damage in Lima left the great day of protests on Thursday. The blockades continue this Friday, January 20, on dozens of roads throughout the country, while thousands continue to demonstrate to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the closure of Congress and the advancement of general elections, more than a month after the dismissal of Pedro Castillo.

The Administration of Dina Boluarte clings to power while the protests demanding her departure intensify.

The blockades continue this Friday, January 20, at 127 transit points and on 26 national roads. A panorama that affects 18 of the 25 regions of Peru, verified the France 24 team in the Andean country.

The authorities assess the material damage, after the great anti-government march that toured the capital the day before.

For the moment, the municipal government of the Peruvian capital estimates that the riots during the so-called ‘Tama of Lima’ caused material losses of around 210,000 dollars.

Among the damages, the burning of an old mansion in the center of the city stands out, near the epicenter of the first massive protest demanding new general elections and the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, as well as members of Congress.

28 people who lived there were affected. It is a four-story house built at the beginning of the 20th century that was at risk of collapse, said the city’s risk management manager, Mario Cassareto.

In the midst of the chaos generated by the protests, a large house in the center of the city burned down.  The causes that caused it are still unknown.  In Lima, Peru, on January 19, 2023.
In the midst of the chaos generated by the protests, a large house in the center of the city burned down. The causes that caused it are still unknown. In Lima, Peru, on January 19, 2023. © Alessandro Cinque / Reuters

Among the affected sites are also the Lima orphanage, lighting and green areas where fallen trees are registered.

Despite the fact that the claims of thousands of protesters continue, the president made it clear once again that she will not depart from office. “I want to deny the false news (…) The government is firm and its cabinet is more united than ever,” Boluarte said in a press statement held with a group of ministers at the Government Palace in Lima, after some reports indicated that his Administration would yield to strong social pressure.

At least two dead left the great national march

The national mobilization on Thursday left at least two people dead in southern Peru.

In Arequipa, the country’s second city, violent clashes around the airport left one dead and ten injured, according to data from the Ombudsman’s Office.

Riot police officers stand guard as thousands of people demonstrate amid tear gas during a large anti-government march in Lima, Peru, on January 19, 2023.
Riot police officers stand guard as thousands of people demonstrate amid tear gas during a large anti-government march in Lima, Peru, on January 19, 2023. © Reuters//Sebastian Castañeda

A little earlier, the entity also confirmed the death of another man, who had been injured the day before, during the demonstrations in Macusani, near the Puno region, on the border with Bolivia.

In total, at least 54 people have lost their lives since the anti-government protests began last December, after the impeachment and detention of President Pedro Castillo, after he tried to dissolve Congress.

Indigenous peoples aim to declare themselves an insurgency

France24 correspondent in Peru, Francisco Zacarías, reported that in the southern region of Ayacucho, citizens accuse the Boluarte government of allegedly infiltrating “vandals” to discredit the demonstration.

Social discontent rises with the passing of the days. Basilio Licla, one of the leaders of the protest, maintained that the indigenous communities do not rule out declaring an insurgency and seeking independence to create what they call the new republic of Ayacucho Sur, in the face of social injustice and the neglect that millions of people claim suffer from. the aboriginal peoples.

Thousands of protesters from different regions of the country gather during a large anti-government march in Lima, on January 19, 2023.
Thousands of protesters from different regions of the country gather during a large anti-government march in Lima, on January 19, 2023. © Reuters/Angela Ponce

Meanwhile, in Lima, where thousands of people arrived on foot and in buses from different regions, mainly peasants and indigenous people, a large part of the mobilizations took place peacefully, while many shouted messages against the president in unison such as “Dina, listen The people disown you.”

But later in the center of the city some sources of violence broke out. Groups of protesters threw stones and bottles at the public force, at a time when the deployed police officers fired tear gas.

“I am in Lima to defend the homeland because there is too much corruption. Dina does not represent us. We are going to stay for a week to continue with the demonstrations,” said Demetrio Jiménez, who arrived from Puno, near the border with Bolivia.

Operations of the International Airport in Cusco resume

In the midst of what has been the largest mass protest since the new social outbreak, hundreds of people tried to take over the airports of Puno and Cuzco, considered the tourist capital of the country.

Given this scenario, the two air terminals were temporarily closed.

In the last few hours, the Ministry of Transport and Communications announced that they would restart operations at the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport in Cusco.

However, services are still suspended at the airports in the cities of Arequipa, Juliaca and Jaén.

Boluarte confirmed that several airports, including the one in the southern city of Juliaca, had been attacked “in concert.”

“All the rigor of the law will fall on those people who have acted with vandalism,” said the president.

Over the past month, raucous and sometimes fatal protests have led to the worst wave of violence Peru has experienced in more than two decades. Many residents of the poorest rural regions are expressing their anger against the establishment of the central government over inequality and the rising cost of living, putting a strain on the institutions of the copper-rich Andean region.

For now, the Boluarte Administration insists on its proposal to call general elections until April 2024, despite the claim of citizens who demand immediate voting.

Social discontent is growing and uncertainty casts a shadow over a nation submerged in constant episodes of political instability that has led it to have six presidents in the last six years.

With Reuters, AFP and local media

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