Lima, Nov 10 (EFE).- Police used tear gas Thursday against a small group of militants among thousands of supporters of leftist President Pedro Castillo gathered outside Congress to demand the dissolution of the legislature.
A large contingent of the national police (PNP) were deployed around the seat of Congress as a precaution ahead of the self-proclaimed “taking of Lima” by partisans of the president.
Around 6:00 pm, some of the protesters began hurling rocks at the officers in a bid to get past the security cordon.
Police made a number of arrests.
One of those taken into custody was a man in an apparent state of inebriation who tried to stab protesters in San Martin Square, the PNP said on Twitter.
Aside from the clash Thursday evening, the protest unfolded peacefully, despite PNP warnings of possible violence by “radical and extremist groups.”
Based on the advice from the PNP, the congressional leadership postponed the session planned for Thursday, though some individual lawmakers came to the capitol to work in their offices.
Organized by labor unions and grassroots groups, the “taking of Lima” drew Castillo partisans from across the country to the capital to repudiate the actions of the opposition-controlled Congress.
Protesters are also demanding a new constitution and the resignation of Attorney General Patricia Benavides, who last month asked Congress to impeach and remove the president, accused of leading a criminal conspiracy within the government.
Last Saturday, thousands of Peruvians took to the streets of Lima and other cities to call for Castillo’s ouster.
Castillo, 53, was a schoolteacher with no previous political experience when he ran for president. He prevailed narrowly over right-winger Keiko Fujimori – daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori – in a runoff and has been under constant pressure from Congress and the judiciary since taking office in July 2021.