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Peru: Protests against new president turn deadly

December 12, 2022

Two teenagers were killed in clashes with police in the southern city of Andahuaylas. New President Dina Boluarte has since pledged to bring forward fresh elections.

Protests in Lima, Peru
A protester waves a Peruvian flag during a protest demanding the dissolution of Congress and to hold democratic elections Image: Alessandro Cinque/REUTERS

Protests against the new Peruvian President Dina Boluarte in the southern city of Andahuaylas on Sunday left two people dead, according to national and local authorities.

Boluarte reacted by announcing in a nationally televised address that she will submit a bill to Congress to bring elections forward to April 2024.

What do we know so far?

The head of Peru's ombudsman's office, Eliana Revollar, told local radio station RPP that a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died during clashes with police in Andahuaylas, in the Andean region of Apurimac, "possibly as a result of gunshot wounds."

"We regret the death of two people and several injured after the clashes. I urge the population to calm down," Interior Minister Cesar Cervantes said.

Meanwhile, Baltazar Lantaron, governor of the Apurimac region, told local television station Canal N that four people were injured.

Demonstrations also took place in other parts of Peru, such as the capital, Lima, with police reportedly using tear gas to disperse protesters.

Peru's President Pedro Castillo arrested

What do the protesters want?

The protests have swollen steadily since the South American country's legislature on Wednesday threw out leftist President Pedro Castillo after he tried to dissolve Congress.

Dina Boluarte, a former prosecutor who had served as Castillo's vice president, was quickly sworn in to replace him. On Saturday, she introduced her new cabinet and named former prosecutor Pedro Angulo as prime minister.

Meanwhile, rural unions and organizations representing Indigenous peoples called for an "indefinite strike" beginning Tuesday in support of Castillo, himself the son of a peasant family.

They demanded the suspension of Congress, early elections and a new constitution as well as Castillo's immediate release, according to a statement from the Agrarian and Rural Front of Peru, which groups about a dozen organizations.

dh/wd (AFP, dpa, EFE)