Lima, May 22 (EFE).- With 15 days to go for the runoff of the presidential elections in Peru, anti-Fujimorist groups took to the streets across Peru on Saturday against the right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, considering her “a threat” to the country.
Thousands of people held demonstrations in more than 20 cities expressing rejection the Popular Force party candidate, who squares off against leftist Pedro Castillo in the runoff on June 6.
“It cannot be that a person who is going to run for president has such large allegations of theft of millions of dollars, apart from being the daughter of a dictator. This is undeniable,” a young university student demonstrating in Lima told EFE.
The anti-Fujimorist campaign was led by a group of activists, union leaders, relatives of victims of persecution during the Fujimori government (1992-2000), representatives of cultural organizations and university students committed to “defending Peru from a new Fujimorism.”
“Pedro is decent, Keiko is delinquent,” and “For justice and dignity, Fujimori never again,” the demonstrators chanted in unison, holding banners, posters and photographs with the faces of victims of the regime of Alberto Fujimori, Keiko’s father who is serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity.
With explicit support for the Free Peru candidate Castillo, demonstrators urged people to vote “in memory of the victims” of murders, disappearances and forced sterilizations under the Fujimori regime.
“It is extremely important that the people have a memory. We must choose with memory, boldly, we must opt (…) not for those who intend to push us back 20 or 30 years to the Fujimorist dictatorship,” lawyer Marite Bustamante told EFE.
These marches were held in all other major cities such as Cusco, Cajamarca, Ayacucho, Arequipa and Piura.
The biggest demonstration was in the capital city of Lima, where several hundred citizens gathered at the central San Martin square at 4pm and marched through the streets.
An hour earlier, victims of forced sterilizations held a separate demonstration in front of the Palace of Justice, seat of the country’s Supreme Court.
Rather than making efforts to garner support in favor of one candidate over another, the polarized election campaign for the runoff has been marked by constant attacks and attempts to de-legitimize rival positions.
The electoral battle has essentially become a contest between between anti-Fujimorism and anti-communism.
Thus, these anti-Fujimorist marches serve as a counterbalance to the right-wing’s campaign, characterized by support from the Lima-based media, public figures such as the Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa and several private companies.
For instance, over the last few weeks, a major advertising firm in the capital has lined the main avenues of Lima with posters against “Communism,” “for Peru” and against “danger” of becoming “another Venezuela.”
According to recent surveys, Castillo, a teacher and union leader, enjoys a narrow lead over Fujimori.
The Datum survey published on Friday predicted that Castillo would obtain 53.1 percent of the votes against 46.8 percent by Fujimori. EFE