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Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Peru’s capital on Friday and fired tear gas for a second day, as protesters made clear they would continue their mobilization to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
All the protesters in Lima came from remote Andean regions, where dozens have died amid unrest that has swept large parts of the country since Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader from a rural Andean background, on Congress He was impeached and imprisoned after trying to disband. last month.
José Luis Ayma Cuentes, 29, who made the 20-hour journey to reach the country’s capital from the southern Puno region, which has been the site of the deadliest state violence over the past month, said: “Unless she resigns Till then we will remain there, till the dissolution of Congress, till fresh elections are held, otherwise we are not going anywhere.
Until recently, the protests had mainly taken place in Peru’s southern region, with a total of 55 people killed and 700 injured in the unrest, mainly in clashes with security forces.
Protesters now want Lima, home to about a third of Peru’s population of 34 million, to be the focal point of the demonstrations, which began when Ms. Boluarte, then vice president, took office on December 7 to replace Mr. Castillo. Took oath of The protests have seen some of the worst political violence the country has seen in more than two decades.
At the start of Friday’s protests, demonstrators marched through major streets of downtown Lima waving flags and chanting: “The blood spilled will never be forgotten,” and “The people do not give up”.
After keeping a close watch on the protesters, who were barricaded in the streets of the city, the police started firing tear gas.
Anger at the police remained constant throughout the march as protesters shouted “killers” as they passed lines of officers wearing helmets and holding shields.
As night fell, protesters were locked in battles with police, while some protesters threw water bottles filled with rocks at officers.
Late on Friday, Interior Minister Vicente Romero praised police action during the protests, saying it “has been very professional”.
Protesters were particularly angered by Ms. Boluaarte for a fiery speech Thursday night in which she accused protesters of inciting violence, vowed to prosecute the protesters and questioned where they got their funding.
“You want to break the rule of law, you want to create chaos so that within that chaos and confusion you hold power,” Ms. Boluaarte said.
Ms. Boluarte has said she supports plans to hold fresh elections in 2024, two years ahead of schedule, but protesters say it is not fast enough.
Protests and clashes with police also took place in other parts of the country.
In Arequipa, Peru’s second city, authorities clashed with protesters who tried to storm the airport.
Also in southern Peru, the multinational firm Glencore decided to temporarily close its Antapaque copper mine after protesters stormed the site.