Thousands Descend on Peru's Capital: 'Dina, Resign Already!'

Protesters arrive in Lima to demand resignation of new President Dina Boluarte
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2023 5:30 AM CST
Thousands Descend on Peru's Capital: 'Dina, Resign Already!'
An anti-government protester and a police officer face off in Lima, Peru, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Guadalupe Pardo)

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Peru's capital Friday and were met with volleys of tear gas for the second straight day, as demonstrators made clear they'll keep up their mobilizations to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte. Many of the protesters in Lima had arrived from remote Andean regions, where dozens have died amid unrest that has engulfed large portions of the country since Pedro Castillo, Peru's first leader from a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned after he tried to dissolve Congress last month, per the AP. "Dina, resign already! What is that you want with our Peru?" said Jose Luis Ayma Cuentas, 29, who traveled about 20 hours to get to the country's capital from the southern Puno region, which has been the site of the deadliest state violence over the past month.

"We're staying until she resigns, until the dissolution of Congress, until there are new elections," he added. Until recently, the protests had been mainly in Peru's southern region, with a total of 55 people killed and 700 injured in the unrest, largely in clashes with security forces. Protesters now want Lima, home to around one-third of Peru's population of 34 million, to be the focal point of the demonstrations that began when Boluarte, who was then vice president, was sworn into office on Dec. 7 to replace Castillo. Castillo, a political novice who lived in a two-story adobe home in the Andean highlands, eked out a narrow victory in elections in 2021 that rocked Peru's political establishment and laid bare the deep divisions between residents of the capital and the long-neglected countryside.The protests sparked the worst political violence that the country has seen in more than two decades.

At the beginning of Friday's protests, the demonstrators seemed more organized than the previous day and took over key roads in downtown Lima, waving flags while chanting, "The people don't give up" and other slogans. Police appeared more combative than the day before, and after standing watch over protesters who'd been blocked into downtown streets, they started firing volleys of tear gas. Boluarte has said she supports a plan to hold fresh elections in 2024, two years ahead of schedule, but protesters say that isn't fast enough, particularly considering the recent deaths. Protests and clashes with law enforcement also took place in other parts of the nation. In Arequipa, Peru's second-largest city, police clashed with protesters who tried to storm the airport. Meanwhile, multinational firm Glencore decided to temporarily shut down its Antapaccay copper mine after protesters attacked the site.

(More Peru stories.)

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