12 December 2022

Peru president gives in to protesters’ demands and proposes to move up elections

12 December 2022

Peru’s newest president, Dina Boluarte gave in to protesters’ demands early on Monday, announcing in a nationally televised address that she will send Congress a proposal to move up elections.

Ms Boluarte’s decision came after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets around Peru for another day on Sunday to demand that she resign and schedule elections to replace her and Congress.

The protests turned deadly, with at least two reported deaths in a remote community in the Andes, according to officials.

Ms Boluarte said she will propose the scheduling of general elections for April 2024.

Many of those demonstrating in the ongoing political crisis are demanding the release from custody of Pedro Castillo, the centre-left president ousted on Wednesday by politicians after he sought to dissolve Congress ahead of an impeachment vote.

Hundreds of people also protested in Lima, the capital, where riot police used tear gas to push protesters back.

The protests rocking Peru heated up particularly in rural areas, strongholds for Castillo, a former schoolteacher and political newcomer from a poor Andean mountain district.

Protesters set fire to a police station, vandalised a small airport used by the armed forces, and marched in the streets.

A 15-year-old boy died of an injury suffered during a protest in the remote Andes community of Andahuaylas, Congresswoman Maria Taipe Coronado said as she made an impassioned plea from the legislative palace for Ms Boluarte to step down.

Ms Taipe accused authorities of using heavy-handed repressive tactics in quelling demonstrations.

But it remains unclear how the boy was fatally injured, and state media reported a second death in the same community without giving details.

Anthony Gutierrez, director of a local hospital, told a radio station that the second protester to die was an 18-year-old person. At least 26 people have also been reported injured.

Ms Boluarte, 60, was swiftly sworn in midweek to replace Mr Castillo, hours after he stunned the country by ordering the dissolution of Congress, which in turn dismissed him for “permanent moral incapacity”.

Mr Castillo was arrested on charges of rebellion.

Mr Castillo’s failed move against the opposition-led Congress came hours before politicians were set to start a third impeachment attempt against him.

Scattered protests around the country have continued for days.

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