9 protesters die on Day 1 of Peru’s national emergency, toll rises to 17

Lima, Dec 15 (EFE).-At least nine protesters were killed on the first day of Peru’s national emergency on Thursday, raising the death toll to 17 from violent clashes after the ouster and arrest of President Pedro Castillo a week ago.

Angry protesters have been calling for the resignation of the new president, Dina Boluarte, the replacement of all lawmakers, and the reinstatement of Castillo.

The health minister confirmed on its social networks that nine protesters died on Thursday in various parts of the country.

Seven people died and more than 50 were injured in the southern Ayacucho region.

Two protesters were killed in La Libertad, in the north.

Some protesters in Ayacucho tried to storm into and occupy the airport. Armed forces resisted the move, which left seven dead.

The authorities have not given details of the circumstances of the two deaths in La Libertad.

The number of deaths in clashes between protesters and security forces has now climbed to 17 since the demonstrations intensified across the country over the weekend.

The regional government in Ayacucho blamed Boluarte, the interior and defense ministers for the unabated violence and bloodshed.

The local administration asked the government to “immediately resign from office.”

It also called for an immediate stop to the use of firearms and the repression by the armed forces and the police.

“Not one more death,” the National Human Rights Coordinator tweeted.

“We demand investigation and punishment of the crimes in Ayacucho.”

The rights body demanded an end to military intervention and said it held the highest political authorities in the country responsible for the crimes against people.

President Boluarte appealed for courage and pushed her proposal for early elections at the start of the 30-day nationwide state of emergency imposed to contain protests against last week’s ouster and arrest of predecessor less than 18 months after he took office.

The state of exception entails the suspension of the right of assembly and freedom of movement, allows police to enter a home without a warrant, and authorizes the use of the military to maintain order.

“There is no room here for fear, but instead for bravery,” the president said during an end-of-term ceremony at the air force academy in Lima.

She described the unrest as the work of “violent people disguised as demonstrators,” and reaffirmed her “commitment to work for the security of the entire country.”

“Neither violence nor radicalism will end a legal and legitimate government,” Boluarte said.

The protesters, however, view the new president as a “usurper,” and her foreign minister announced Thursday the recall of ambassadors from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela because their governments continue to recognize Castillo as Peru’s president.

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