Lima, July 22 (EFE).- A largely peaceful anti-government march by hundreds of people in Lima on Saturday ended in clashes with the police, that evicted demonstrators who entered the central Plaza San Martin.
Most of the people taking part in the march, convened by the National Unitary Struggle Coordinator (CNUL), had come from the interior of the country to the Peruvian capital to express their rejection of the government in both the executive and legislative branches.
Diana Flores, a protester who came from Puno, where 19 people died in January in clashes with security forces, described the march as an “opportunity to reconcile, and confront a government that does not respect our rights.”
“This situation cannot continue like this, neither Congress nor the Executive can continue in this way,” she stressed.
Another demonstrator, Janeth Mendoza Huarancca, whose brother, John Henry Mendoza, died in the repression of demonstrations in December in the city of Ayacucho, said that she will never recognize Dina Boluarte as president.
“I came from Ayacucho on July 18 to ask for justice for my brother,” she said.
The demonstrators gathered in Plaza Dos de Mayo and began marching through the streets and avenues of downtown Lima to reiterate their demand for the resignation of Boluarte, the dissolution of Congress and the call for general elections and a constituent assembly.
The CNUL accused the government and Congress of forming a “coup coalition” and said that the formation of “a social front for change in democracy is a necessity to overcome the political and social crisis” affecting Peru.
Riot police officers monitored the march without any incident until a group of people, many of them women from Puno, entered Plaza San Martín, the historic epicenter of demonstrations in Lima.
As the demonstrators entered the square, the police officers fired tear gas at them and drove them out using their batons and shields.
The National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH) slammed the incident calling it an “unjustified repression against the people who entered Plaza San Martín to express its rejection of the Boluarte regime.”
“Citizens have the right to use public squares to make their voices heard,” it said on social media.
At least one protester was severely beaten, while a first aid volunteer and a police officer sustained minor injuries.
The Ombudsman’s Office reported that a person heading to the protest was arrested in the San Martin de Porres district by police.
After the confrontation at Plaza San Martín, the demonstrators walked towards the Paseo de los Héroes Navales public park, near which the Palace of Justice – the seat of the Supreme Court of Peru – is located, from where they were again evicted by riot police. EFE