Latin America

Riots in Peru: Boluarte wants to bring forward new elections

President Dina Boluarte wants to bring forward new elections / Riots in Peru

Two youths died in Peru during protests against the arrest of ousted President Pedro Castillo. The recently sworn in head of state, Dina Boluarte, announced early elections for 2024 in a television speech.

After nationwide protests that left two dead, Peru’s President Dina Boluarte is calling for early elections. In a televised speech, the recently sworn-in president said that she would submit a bill to parliament that would bring the elections forward from 2026 to April 2024. She decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with Congress.

Boluarte also announced that he wanted to tackle serious constitutional reforms. In doing so, she responded to demonstrations by thousands of people who called on her to resign. The protesters demanded new elections for the highest office of state and for Congress.

Injured and dead

According to information from the Peruvian media, two people died during the protests over the weekend. A 15-year-old is said to have died from injuries sustained during a protest, Congresswoman Maria Taipe Coronado said. The boy’s death is the President’s responsibility because she did not submit her resignation, the MP said, adding: “Since when has protest been a crime?”

Anthony Gutiérrez, director of a local hospital, told a radio station the second person killed was 18 years old. Cause of death may have been gunshot wounds. At least 26 people were also reported injured.

Attack on airport

In the capital Lima alone, hundreds took to the streets at the weekend. Police used tear gas to push back protesters. Among other things, they set fire to a police station.

In Andahuaylas, Castillo supporters paralyzed and partially set fire to an airport. According to a statement from the airport and airline company Corpac, quoted by the Peruvian media, the city’s airport was surrounded. There were 50 police and Corpac employees on the premises who were held hostage. As reported by the operator, the fuel depot and the communications room at the airport were set on fire.

The runway and important equipment were also badly affected by violence and vandalism, it said. The airport in the southern city with around 50,000 inhabitants had to close.

Release of Castillo demanded

The protests were triggered by a turbulent change of power at the top of Peru last week. Former President Pedro Castillo was removed from office by the Peruvian parliament on Wednesday for “moral incompetence” and later arrested. He had attempted to dissolve Congress ahead of a no-confidence vote against him. His previous deputy, Boluarte, was sworn in as his successor shortly thereafter.

The country’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Castillo into seven days of pre-trial detention. The politician was elected head of state in July 2021 as a political outsider. Since then, the 53-year-old has been in a constant power struggle with the conservative-dominated Congress.

Protests flared up, especially in rural areas, where Castillo enjoys strong support. The left-wing ex-president is a former teacher and political career changer from a poverty-stricken Andean region.

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