Thousands in Peru’s Capital Demand Resignation of Military-backed Regime

By Abayomi Azikiwe, January 21, 2023

As the political situation becomes even more intense in the capital city of Lima in Peru and other regions of the South American country, the western-backed administration of Dina Boluarte has called for dialogue among the contending political forces.

Nonetheless, despite Boluarte’s stance in running as vice-president with detained ousted President Pedro Castillo during 2021 on the left-wing ticket of the now fractured Peru Libre Party, the current right-wing and military-installed leader soon allied with the armed forces in attempts to consolidate a regime which was immediately recognized by the White House and the United States State Department.

In continuing the legacy of supporting military coups against progressive and socialist-oriented movements throughout Latin America, President Joe Biden has not been pressured by his political party as to why he has backed a coup against an elected leader. Castillo, a former school teacher and trade union leader, has won the allegiance of the people located largely in the rural areas of the south of the mineral-rich state.

On December 7, then President Castillo called for the dissolution of the Congress so that elections could be held in Peru. This proposal was rejected by the majority of the legislature who in turn voted to remove the president from office. As Castillo was leaving the area where some claimed he was to take refuge in the Mexican embassy, he was arrested by the security forces and detained where he remains until this day despite calls from numerous regional governments demanding his release, echoing the mass sentiment within Peru among the farmers and workers.

Over 50 people have reportedly been killed as a direct result of the uprising against the ouster and detention of Castillo. A state of emergency has been declared in six district regions of the vast country as Boluarte and the military have pledged to end the demonstrations through brute force.

During the week of January 16, thousands of people took to the streets in the capital of Lima where workers and farmers demanded the resignation of Boluarte, the release of Castillo and the immediate holding of national elections. Although Boluarte has repeatedly reimposed states of emergency, the demonstrations are growing in their participation and militancy.

A Reuters press agency report from January 20 says that:

“Dozens of Peruvians were injured after tensions flared again on Friday [Jan. 20] night as police clashed with protesters in anti-government demonstrations that are spreading across the country. In the capital Lima, police officers used tear gas to repel demonstrators throwing glass bottles and stones, as fires burned in the streets, local TV footage showed. In the country’s southern Puno region, some 1,500 protesters attacked a police station in the town of Ilave, Interior Minister Vicente Romero said in a statement to news media. A police station in Zepita, Puno, was also on fire, Romero said. Health authorities in Ilave reported eight patients hospitalized with injuries, including broken arms and legs, eye contusions and punctured abdomens. By late afternoon, 58 people had been injured nationwide in demonstrations, according to a report from Peru’s ombudsman. The unrest followed a day of turmoil on Thursday [Jan. 19], when one of Lima’s most historic buildings burned to the ground, as President Dina Boluarte vowed to get tougher on ‘vandals.’”

In the south of the country where Castillo is greatly admired among the Indigenous and rural population, since the December 7 impeachment in the Congress, people have blocked highways and airports to demonstrate their commitment to removing the present government. The historic tourist attraction of Machu Picchu, the 15th century citadel of the ancient Inca civilization, was closed to the public on January 20 due to the escalating anti-government unrest.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately one million people would visit Machu Picchu making it a major source of revenue for the country. The site illustrates the advanced social character of South American Indigenous civilizations prior to the arrival of the European colonialists and enslavers who viciously oppressed and exploited the people….

Peru San Marcos University attacked by the PNP on Jan. 21, 2023.

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