Peruvian journalists denounce police attack on EFE photographer

Juliaca, Peru, Jan 7 (EFE).- Agencia EFE photographer Aldair Mejia was attacked by police while covering protests at the airport here, the Peruvian Journalists Association (ANP) said Saturday.

“They tried to tear up his (press) credential and one threatened him, ‘if you do that again, I will tear off your head and you leave here dead,'” the ANP said on Twitter.

Mejia told EFE that police officers struck him with a shield and tried to seize his credential before chasing him away from the scene.

Juliaca is one of the most populous cities in the southern province of Puno, bordering Bolivia, which has been a hotbed of protests against Peru’s provisional president, Dina Boluarte, since Congress proclaimed her head of state a month ago.

A dozen people were injured Friday as protesters tried to occupy the airport.

The demonstrators renewed their assault on Saturday and police responded with tear gas.

While unable to storm the terminal, protesters demanding that Boluarte and Congress step down in favor of early elections remained on the perimeter of Inca Manco Capac Airport.

The Health Ministry says that 34 people in Puno remain hospitalized for injuries suffered since anti-Boluarte protests resumed Wednesday following a holiday moratorium.

Last month, confrontations between security forces and opponents of the ouster of elected head of state Pedro Castillo resulted in 28 deaths, 22 of them attributable to shots fired by police and soldiers.

Most of the fatalities followed the transitional government’s imposition of a state of emergency entailing the suspension of some constitutional rights. EFE am-mmr/dr

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