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For The PERUsal Of The People

Anti-Government protests have claimed hundreds of lives in Peru since December 2022. The situation prompted the Administration of President Dina Boluarte to declare a month-long State of Emergency in several cities, including the capital city of Lima, in the second week of January 2023. Apart from restricting the movements of common people, the Peruvian Government also imposed a ban on public gatherings.

The Latin American country has been in turmoil since December 2022, mostly due to the Anti-Government protests. The situation deteriorated on January 13-14 this year, as 59 people, including two teenagers, were killed in clashes with the Police and Security Forces in 48 hours. The Police said in a statement that the situation in Juliaca, a town on the shores of Lake Titicaca in the Puno region of southern Peru, became fiery on January 13-14, as 68 protesters received serious injuries there.

The Anti-Government mass protests had begun in early December (2022) soon after José Pedro Castillo Terrones (b. October 19, 1969), the then President, was ousted because of multiple corruption charges against him. Although Castillo is now in custody and facing trial, his supporters are demanding a fresh election and the removal of incumbent President Boluarte. Meanwhile, Boluarte has made it clear that she will not resign. The 60-year-old leader of the Leftists said: “Some voices that have come from the violent and radical factions are asking for my resignation, provoking the population into chaos, disorder and destruction.” The President stressed: “I will not resign, my commitment is with Peru. I cannot stop reiterating my regret for the deaths of Peruvians in these protests. I apologise for this situation.

President Boluarte further said that it would not be possible for her Government to accept all the demands of protesters, and release the former President. She recalled that neighbouring Chile had faced a number of obstacles while creating a new Constitution. It may be noted that Boluarte is the sixth President of Peru in the last five years.

Peru is a country that has long dealt with the fight for stabilisation. After the Spanish were ousted from power in 1821, Peru experienced a bumpy ride through the years, with many coming into power, either through military force or popular support, and either ousted, assassinated, or forced to resign due to many sorts of events. The most recent example is former President Alan Garcia, who shot himself after hearing that he was to be arrested due to bribery allegations and other corruption in his administration. It resulted in many of his supporters around the country to grieve his death and call for increased change in the Peruvian Government.

However, former President Castillo, in light of his wish to unilaterally control the Government by dissolving the Peruvian Congress and other systems in place to limit the power of the Presidential Office, to create a new Constitution and to completely change the election process, faced impeachment.

Many members of Castillo’s own administration resigned after he made his desires public, and several neighbouring countries, including Ecuador and Chile, condemned his actions, snapping trade ties with Peru and imposing sanctions on the country.

As Castillo attempted to consolidate power by his own means, he called for an emergency Government. However, 101 members of the Peruvian Congress voted to impeach him on a dramatic day, with some of his Cabinet members tendering resignation. On December 7, 2022, the Police arrested Castillo, and his Vice President Boluarte became the first female President of Peru.

With inputs from Talk Diplomacy (Instagram)

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