Conflicts & War

Thousands join anti-government protests in Peru

Lima, Jul 19 (EFE).- Thousands of people gathered in this capital Wednesday for a protest against Peru’s deeply unpopular Congress and provisional president.

Facing a massive deployment of riot police, union members, students, and members of civic organizations assembled in Lima’s Dos de Mayo and San Martin squares to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and the dissolution of Congress.

Participants held up signs reading “Dina and Congress murderers,” “Democracy doesn’t kill,” and “No to the murderous dictatorship,” referring to the deaths of 49 people at the hands of police and the army during two months of demonstrations after elected President Pedro Castillo was ousted by the legislature last Dec. 7.

One contingent called for the reinstatement of Castillo, who remains behind bars on charges of conspiracy and rebellion for trying to dissolve Congress and schedule early elections.

The Attorney General’s Office and other government agencies deployed observers to monitor the protests.

“We urge the citizens to exercise their Right to Protest in a peaceful way and the police to act according to the law,” the National Ombud’s Office said on Twitter.

The marches from the respective squares converged at Abancay Avenue, where they encountered a large number of police blocking their path.

Abancay leads to the seat of Congress, which was not in session on Wednesday, yet surrounded by police and armored vehicles.

The protesters pushed on the police shields before hurling bottles and other objects. The cops responded with tear gas, but the marchers eventually broke through the line.

Peruvian television aired images of congressional speaker Jose Williams, a former army general, standing on a balcony watching as the demonstrators streamed toward the building.

Elsewhere in the Andean nation, anti-government protesters blocked highways in the southern regions of Arequipa and Cusco and in the Amazonian territory of Loreto.

While in Huancavelica, 426 km south of Lima, unknown assailants set fire to a gate at the city. Police deployed tear gas and the several hundred protesters withdrew.

EFE mmr/dr

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