State of Emergency in Peru: Crisis intensifies with 17 new deaths

State of Emergency in Peru: Crisis intensifies with 17 new deaths

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The convulsions from the ousting of President Pedro Castillo in Peru continue to be felt throughout various parts of the country. At least 39 people have been killed after the newly unelected leader of Peru, Dina Boluarte, declared a State of Emergency.

In the last 24 hours, 17 people were killed in southern Peru. Heavy clashes especially hit the city of Juliaca in the Puno region. Hence, the deadliest day since the ousting of Castillo, who is currently in jail. 

Reuters reports, “During the day in Juliaca, a Reuters witness recorded footage of gunshots and smoke on the streets as protesters took cover behind large metal plates and road signs and threw rocks at police using improvised sling-shots.”

The Guardian reports, “The rising death toll comes amid growing protests calling for President Dina Boluarte to resign, Congress to be shuttered and Castillo to be freed from jail. Boluarte was Castillo’s vice-president who replaced him after he attempted to shutter Congress and rule by decree on 7 December.”

Prime Minister Alberto Otárola – negating the voices of ordinary citizens and indigenous supporters of Castillo – said, “We will not cease in our defense of the rule of the law.” 

Otárola claimed that “foreign interests and the dark money of drug trafficking” were seeking to “destroy the country.”

The political crisis developed rapidly when Castillo sought the dissolution of Congress, fearing his impeachment because of the constant calls for this despite two failed attempts. Hence, no compromise was forthcoming. Thus events spiraled quickly. Therefore, Castillo was ousted and arrested – and Boluarte took control of the government and soon declared a national State of Emergency.

One month later and tensions remain unabated in various parts of Peru. State ministers visited various regions to quell the crisis. However, the latest high daily death toll will lead to greater mistrust.

The former Education Minister (Patricia Correa) resigned at the outset of the crisis because of the ensuing violence. Correa said, “state violence cannot be disproportionate and cause death.”

The release of Castillo and seeking to build bridges with regional leaders and other important sectors of society is a must. 

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/least-nine-dead-anti-government-protests-near-peru-airport-2023-01-09/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/10/peru-protests-deaths-fresh-clashes-as-calls-grow-for-president-boluarte-to-resign

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