Update 1: Adds details, complete rewrite including new headline, lede
Lima, Jan 20 (EFE).- Anti-government protests in Lima on Friday led to new clashes with security forces and “serious damage” to the infrastructure in the historic center of the Peruvian capital, officials said.
The protests brought together thousands of people for the second consecutive day, many of them coming from the southern regions of Peru, and after a peaceful start, evolved into clashes with police officers, who fired tear gas.
The security cameras of the Municipality of Lima showed that protesters were trying to enter through parallel streets towards the central Abancay Avenue, where the headquarters of Congress and the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office are located.
The images, widely disseminated by local media, showed that another group damaged Colmena station.
The bulk of the demonstrators were detained by a large police cordon near the Parque Universitario, with only a few skirmishes.
In the nearby avenue Nicolás de Piérola there was a stampede of demonstrators chased by police on motorcycles and at a nearby intersection, the firing of tear gas was reported.
Officers also blocked the streets near the Central Market and Chinatown, where it was reported that people were going to try to break the police line.
Tanks and multipurpose armored vehicles from the National Police arrived in the area, as well as vehicles from the Navy, although they did not intervene in the confrontations.
General Víctor Zanabria, head of the Lima Police Region, told Canal N that in Lima “there are some 2,500 people carrying out violent acts that the police control using chemical means.”
“Let’s hope that calm returns, but we already have four detainees for riots and property damage, the operations are underway,” he remarked.
Zanabria said that in the historic center “there has been serious damage to public and private property, bars and benches have been destroyed in the parks,” and that the arrests are made for crimes such as disturbance of public order, riots and resistance to authority.
He said that since the massive demonstrations in Lima began Thursday, 38 people have been detained, and that 29 injured police officers and 24 injured civilians have also been reported.
The protesters toured the streets of the center of the Peruvian capital on Friday afternoon in groups, a day after the march called the “takeover of Lima,” which led to violent clashes with police.
Referring to Thursday, Ombudsman Eliana Revollar, stressed on Friday that the massive protest in Lima did not have “a social cost” of deaths in the capital, despite the fact that there were two deaths in clashes in other parts of the country.
The collective protest actions, which call for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the closure of Congress, early elections and a constituent assembly, occurred in 38 percent of the provinces of Peru, she said.
Nearly 60 people have died since December in protest-related incidents, including effects of roadblocks. EFE