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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Peru Declares State of Emergency in Lima After Weeks of Protests

Peru Declares State of Emergency in Lima After Weeks of Protests – Peru’s government has declared a state of emergency in Lima and three other regions due to ongoing protests against President Dina Boluarte, which have resulted in 42 deaths. The state of emergency, which will last for 30 days, allows for military intervention to maintain order and suspends certain constitutional rights, such as freedom of movement and assembly. This was announced in an official decree published on Saturday.

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In addition to Lima, the state of emergency also applies to the regions of Cusco, Puno and the port city of Callao. Over 100 roadblocks have been set up by protesters across Peru, primarily in the south, where the protests have been concentrated, as well as around Lima. Despite the roadblocks, authorities have reopened the international airport in Cusco, which is crucial for Peru’s tourism industry. On Friday, President Boluarte stated that she will not resign in a televised address.

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“Some voices that have come from the violent and radical factions are asking for my resignation, provoking the population into chaos, disorder and destruction,” Boluarte said. “I will not resign. My commitment is with Peru.” In the address, Boluarte lamented that the protests had at times turned violent. “I cannot stop reiterating my regret for the deaths of Peruvians in these protests,” she said. “I apologise for this situation.” But she rejected the possibility of calling a constitutional assembly as demanded by protesters, pointing to the difficulties Peru’s neighbour Chile has had in drafting and approving a new constitution. 

“That cannot happen overnight,” Boluarte said. The mass anti-government demonstrations first broke out in early December, after then-president Pedro Castillo was ousted from office for attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, seeking to prevent an impeachment vote against him. Castillo’s supporters have marched and barricaded streets around the South American country demanding new elections and Boluarte’s removal. Boluarte, who is from the same leftwing party as Castillo, has insisted she will not step down. 

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Peru has been facing political turmoil in recent years, with Boluarte being the sixth person to hold the presidency in a period of five years. Castillo, who was facing multiple fraud investigations during his time in office, has been arrested and charged with rebellion and will be held in custody for 18 months. On Friday, opposition legislator Susel Paredes told local radio that time was running out for Boluarte and that the resignation of the labor minister, Eduardo Garcia, on Thursday was “the beginning of the end” for the president. Two other ministers resigned Friday: the heads of the interior ministry and the ministry of women.


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