(Update 1: Adds details, edits throughout, new headline, lede)
Lima, Dec 12 (EFE).- Peru’s president in the early hours of Monday morning declared a state of emergency “in areas of high social conflict” after two young people died in protest violence.
“I announce the declaration of a state of emergency in areas of high social conflict,” Dina Boluarte said in a speech after midnight Sunday, in which she did not specify which areas she was referring to.
“I announce that I have given instructions for the peaceful recovery of control of internal order, without affecting the fundamental rights of citizens.”
Protests calling for an early general election and for Boluarte’s resignation erupted around the country after she was sworn in last Wednesday. She had been deputy to Pedro Castillo, who earlier that day was removed from office after he announced he would dissolve Congress and install an emergency government ahead of an impeachment vote.
Boluarte added early Monday that she would endeavor to bring forward the general election from the scheduled July 2026.
“I have decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with Congress to advance the general elections to April 2024. In the next few days I will submit to Congress a bill to advance the elections,” she said.
The National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH) on Sunday announced on Twitter that a 15-year-old identified by the initials DAQ and 18-year-old Becam Romario Quispe Garfias died in the protests.
“I deeply regret the death of our compatriots in Andahuaylas, Apurímac, my land. I express my heartfelt condolences to their relatives,” said Boluarte.
In videos on social media, smoke could be seen billowing from Andahuaylas airport as helicopters flew overhead, and the Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation (Corpac) announced its closure due to the violence.
Corpac said in a statement that the terminal “has been suffering attacks and acts of vandalism” since Saturday afternoon, which have affected the runway and essential equipment.
“They (the protesters) have also set fire to the transmitter room, the fuel room, encircling the air terminal with acts of violence, where 50 members of the Peruvian National Police and collaborators of our company are located,” it said.
In addition, another large protest took place in the municipality of Chala, Arequipa, where police said some 2,000 people blocked traffic on the Panamericana Sur highway.
And in downtown Lima, hundreds of protesters clashed with security forces who used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
Amnesty International reiterated that “law enforcement must guarantee the right to peaceful protest and that the use of force must be strictly proportional. Likewise, the protesters to exercise their right to protest peacefully.” EFE