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After a week in office, the new president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, fights to contain the strong protests

2022-12-14T23:59:21.838Z


A week after assuming the presidency, Peru's new president, Dina Boluarte, is struggling to contain widespread protests.


The road network is declared in emergency and provides for the protection of the Armed Forces 5:02

(CNN) --

A week after assuming the presidency, Peru's new president, Dina Boluarte, is struggling to contain fierce protests that erupted after the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo.

She is the sixth ruler to have a country in less than five years.


Boluarte announced Tuesday that the government will create a crisis management committee, while protests demanding political change continue across the country.

The committee will be headed by Pedro Angulo, president of the Council of Ministers of Peru, and will include other representatives such as the heads of the ministries of Defense, Transport, Interior and Communications, among others, the Presidency announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

Truck drivers in Ica, Peru, wait as protesters block a highway to Lima to demand early elections and the release of ousted president Pedro Castillo, on December 13, 2022. (Credit: Sebastián Castañeda/Reuters)

Demonstrators continue to protest despite the government's proposal to advance the elections after the removal of Pedro Castillo in Lima, Peru, on December 13, 2022. Credit: (Credit: Alessandro Cinque/Reuters)

Castillo has denied the accusations of the crimes of conspiracy and rebellion, after his dismissal and arrest last week.

The former president was arrested last week.

His seven-day preventive detention order was due to end at 1:42 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

In a handwritten letter he posted on Twitter, Castillo asked his supporters to meet at the Lima detention center where he remains under arrest at that time.

  • Protests, deaths, an ongoing state of emergency and Pedro Castillo says he is "kidnapped": this is the political crisis in Peru

However, a hearing to determine whether Castillo's detention will be extended was postponed until this Thursday morning, Judge Juan Carlos Checkley said in a virtual court session this Wednesday.

Checkley said Castillo will remain in custody until then.

Protesters in Arequipa, Peru.

(Credit: Oswald Charca/Reuters)

Soldiers stand guard at an official building after protests turned violent.

(Credit: Diego Ramos/AFP/Getty Images)

Deployment of the Army in the streets

Castillo's supporters have been protesting since his arrest and removal last week.

As of Tuesday night, national highways in at least 14 regions across the country were blocked by protests, the Peruvian National Police said in a statement.

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The Army has been deployed in Peru to protect public spaces across the country amid protests, according to a statement by Defense Minister Luis Alberto Otárola late Tuesday.

"Immediate protection by the Armed Forces of the strategic points of national heritage, airports, hydroelectric plants and all that infrastructure that, due to its strategic value, serves to guarantee the life and subsistence of all Peruvians," he explained. Otárola in a statement released by the Peruvian state media Peru TV.

Castillo's dismissal accelerated political tensions in the country.

)Credit: Alessandro Cinque/Reuters)

The Defense Minister also declared a state of emergency on the national highway network.

"We are going to assume control of the national road network throughout the country, to guarantee the free transit of all Peruvians," Otárola said.

He also indicated that the state of emergency has been specifically implemented in the southern cities of Arequipa and Ica, "so that the Armed Forces and the National Police assume control of internal order."

What you should know

What generated the recent social unrest in Peru?

Peru was thrown into further political turmoil when Castillo was ousted and detained on December 7, after he announced his plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government in the face of an imminent vacancy vote by lawmakers.

  • Protests, deaths, an ongoing state of emergency and Pedro Castillo says he is "kidnapped": this is the political crisis in Peru

Boluarte, his former vice president, has taken over as the country's ruler since then, and this Monday he proposed advancing the general elections two years, to April 2024, during a televised speech.

Castillo's removal accelerated political tensions in Peru.

Demonstrations have broken out in cities across the country since last week, sometimes marked by clashes with security forces.

Some protest in support of Castillo, while others want new general elections and the dissolution of Congress.

Who is Pedro Castillo?

Narrowly elected in July 2021 in a presidential runoff, the former leftist leader vowed to "rule with the people and for the people," but his short-lived presidency has largely focused on his own political survival.

Castillo, a former rural teacher, survived two impeachment attempts in his first year as president and faces six investigations opened by the Prosecutor's Office.

  • Who is Pedro Castillo and what did he do as president of Peru?

His government has been in chaos since his inauguration, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigning in just over a year, adding to the pressure on the embattled president ahead of his ouster last week. .

Castillo has lashed out at the opposition for trying to remove him from the first day of his term and has accused Peru's attorney general, Patricia Benavides, of orchestrating what he has called a new form of "coup" against him.

In October, Benavides filed a constitutional complaint against him based on three of the six investigations his office had opened.

The complaint allowed Congress to conduct its own investigation against the former president.

The national prosecutor's office has examined a mountain of investigations into whether Castillo used his position to benefit himself, his family and his closest allies through influence peddling for favors or preferential treatment, among other allegations.

Castillo has repeatedly denied all the accusations and has reiterated his willingness to cooperate with any investigation.

He maintains that the accusations are the result of a witch hunt against him and his family by groups that did not accept his election victory.

Are the protests violent?

At least seven people have died in the protests that have been registered in Peru, according to a tweet from the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.

Among the deceased are two minors, as reported on Tuesday by the press office of the Ombudsman of Peru.

And at least 47 people were hospitalized as a result of protests in the cities of Lima, Apurímac, Huancavelica and Arequipa, Peru's Ministry of Health tweeted.

Protests in Peru leave at least 7 dead 3:54

Boluarte called on Tuesday for calm to be restored to the country and said he had instructed police not to use lethal weapons against protesters.

"Everyone has the right to protest but not to commit acts of vandalism, burning hospitals, ambulances, police stations, assaulting airports, (these) are not normal protests, we have reached the extreme," added Boluarte.

What other consequences have the protests had?

Demonstrations have affected air and road travel in some regions of Peru.

Trains to and from Machu Picchu have been suspended since Tuesday, rail operator PeruRail said in a statement.

"We regret the inconvenience that these announcements generate for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond our company and we seek to prioritize the safety of passengers and workers," the statement read.

LATAM Airlines Peru announced the temporary suspension of its services to and from the airports of the cities of Arequipa and Cuzco.

Protesters tried to storm the terminal of Cusco's Alejandro Velasco Astete international airport on Monday, according to the Peruvian Airports and Commercial Aviation Corporation (CORPAC).

So far there have been no injuries, arrests or damage at the airport, according to CORPAC.

What are the protesters demanding?

Protesters have called for general elections, the dissolution of Congress and the creation of a new constituent assembly.

Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla, a professor of Political Science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), told CNN that the protests represent a violent display of anger against "everything that has accumulated in recent years: growing social and economic ruptures." .

Tuesta added that the demonstrators were also demonstrating for social and environmental issues, in addition to their "furious rejection of Congress."

However, Peruvian legislators hold the key to calling new elections and are unlikely to do so, as they would be voting themselves out of a job, according to Tuesta.

Will Boluarte's rise bring stability?

Peru has been plagued by political instability in recent years, with many Peruvians calling for political change, according to a survey conducted in September by the Institute of Peruvian Studies, according to which 60% of those polled supported holding early elections. to renew both the presidency and Congress.

It is not clear whether Boluarte's ascension to the presidency can win broad political support.

Boluarte "does not have a recognized political career," Tuesta said.

"And with no partisan support, political party or social organization behind her, she's weak from the start."

"Everyone knows when Dina Boluarte's government started, but no one can be sure how long it will last," he told CNN.

Boluarte also does not belong to a political party after she was expelled from Peru Libre due to internal disagreements.

She would have to build bridges and achieve some consensus with the opposition in Congress to stay in office.

-- Tara John, Sahar Akbarzai, Kiarinna Parisi, Gerardo Lemos and Jack Guy contributed reporting.

Crisis in Peru

Source: cnnespanol

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