(Update 1: changes headline, lede, rewrites with latest death toll, injured, quotes, details throughout)
Lima, Dec 12 (EFE).- At least seven people have been killed in protests in Peru, an official said Monday.
The head of Peru ombudsman’s office, Eliana Revollar, confirmed that deaths in clashes between police and protesters had risen to seven in just over 24 hours.
The protesters are demanding President Dina Boluarte’s resignation and the closure of Congress, which removed former President Pedro Castillo from office.
“It has been two very unfortunate days with seven people dead (…) two of them minors and all by gunfire,” Revollar told Epicentro TV.
The most violent clashes are taking place in the southern Apurimac and Arequipa departments.
Apurímac’s Regional Health Directorate said in a statement that a 16-year-old teenager with the initials R. P. M. L. died at noon on Monday from a gunshot wound during a protest in Chincheros.
It also confirmed the death of another two 18-year-olds, Jonathan Encino Arias and Wilfredo Lizarme.
The other victims include a young man, who died on Monday morning in Chincheros, a man who was killed in protests in the country’s second largest city, Arequipa, and two who died on Sunday in Andahuaylas.
“We are asking for the investigation of these cases, which, really, are unnecessary deaths, because if timely decisions were taken this situation should not happen,” said the ombudsman, calling for a political solution.
On Monday, the government declared a 60-day state of emergency in seven provinces of Apurimac, the epicenter of the protests.
For 60 days, constitutional rights relating to “the inviolability of the home, freedom of transit through the national territory, freedom of assembly and personal liberty and security” will be suspended in Apurimac, under Article 2 of the Peruvian constitution.
A total of 119 police official have been injured in the clashes, some of them seriously, according to the head of the Anti-Terrorism Directorate (Dircote) of the Peruvian National Police, General Oscar Arriola.
In an interview with RPP Noticias, Arriola said that the police officers have sustained bruises and at least one is on respiratory support.
Demonstrators in Andahuaylas attacked 14 police stations and assaulted officers in one police station with explosives, Arriola said.
He also signaled the involvement of Shining Path, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef) and other organizations based on the Marxism–Leninism ideology in the protests.
“The Movadef (considered the political arm of Shining Path) is active in these marches,” Arriola said, adding that the police have detected the infiltration of ex-convicts of terrorism and Movadef members into the demonstrations.
At least 15 police officers were injured in the province of Andahuaylas in an attack with explosives by protesters.
The protesters used pyrotechnic devices and homemade explosives containing dynamite and pellets.
Protests were also staged in Lima, where groups of demonstrators attacked the headquarters of the Public Ministry, as well as the buildings of TV networks, America Television and Panamericana Television, and a vehicle of the radio station, Éxitosa.