Conflicts & War

Renewed clashes between Peruvian protesters, security forces leave 14 dead

(Update 1: Updates figure, lede, headline, adds details, edits throughout)

Lima, Jan 9 (EFE).- At least 14 people died Monday in new clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the southern Peruvian city of Juliaca, bringing to the total to 43 killed nationwide since the start of anti-government protests last month.

The figure was confirmed in statements to Channel N by Ombudsman Eliana Revollar, who specified that 14 protesters, including at least one minor under the age of 17, died in the clashes in the vicinity of the Juliaca airport, the epicenter of the protests in Puno region demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the closure of congress and new elections, among other claims.

Revollar said that the protest in Juliaca was “very large” and regretted that “it has become very violent,” adding that the protesters used “homemade weapons” and urged them to act peacefully.

“The solution to this problem is political. That is why we call on congress and the government to find a real way out,” she concluded.

The Ombudsman’s Office also reported another death due to “events related to road blockades” in Chucuito district, also in Puno.

Monday was the sixth consecutive day of protests in Peru since they resumed on Jan. 4 after a Christmas truce, and the most tragic since they began in December.

So far, Boluarte has not commented on the 14 deaths, which brings the total to 43 people who have lost their lives in under a month.

Of this total, 36 died in confrontations and another seven “due to a traffic accident and events related to the blockade” of roads, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.

Last month, confrontations between security forces and opponents of the Dec. 7 ouster of elected head of state Pedro Castillo resulted in 28 deaths, 22 of them attributable to shots fired by police and soldiers. Ten of the 28 deaths occurred in Ayacucho when a group of demonstrators tried to force their way to that city’s airport.

Castillo, who is facing charges of rebellion and conspiracy for attempting to dissolve congress and install a new emergency government, is being held in pre-trial detention.

Most of the fatalities followed the transitional government’s imposition of a state of emergency entailing the suspension of some constitutional rights.

The demonstrators continue to demand that Boluarte and congress step down in favor of early general elections, as well as a constitutional convention to draft a replacement for the charter enacted in 1993 under president Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving life in prison for massacres and embezzlement during his 10 years in power.

Separately Monday, the Transport and Communications Ministry said the airport serving the southern city of Ayacucho will suspend operations on Tuesday as a precautionary measure.

The airport in Juliaca was closed last Friday. EFE


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