Protesters continue call for president’s resignation



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Peru’s capital yesterday and were met with volleys of tear gas for the second straight day, as demonstrators made clear they will keep up their mobilisations to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte. Many of the protesters in Lima had arrived from remote Andean regions, where dozens have died amid unrest that has engulfed large portions of the country since Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader from a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned after he tried to dissolve Congress last month. ‘‘Dina, resign already! What is that you want with our Peru?’’ said Jose Luis Ayma Cuentas, 29, who travelled for about 20 hours to get to the country’s capital from the southern Puno region, which has been the site of the deadliest state violence over the past month. ‘‘We’re staying until she resigns, until the dissolution of Congress, until there are new elections, otherwise we aren’t going anywhere.’’ Until recently, the protests had been mainly in Peru’s southern region, with a total of 55 people killed and 700 injured in the unrest, largely in clashes with security forces. Protesters now want Lima, home to around one-third of Peru’s population of 34 million, to be the focal point of the demonstrations that began when Boluarte, who was then vice-president, was sworn into office on December 7 to replace Castillo. The protests sparked the worst political violence in the country has seen in more than two decades. Anger at law enforcement was a constant throughout the march as demonstrators yelled ‘‘murderers’’ when they passed rows of police officers wearing helmets and holding up shields. A few blocks away, Doris Pacori, 56, stood between police officers and protesters who had been blocked from reaching Congress. ‘‘They are servants of the corrupt, cowards with them but abusive with the people,’’ Pacori, who held a sign that read ‘‘Dina murderer.’’ As night fell, protesters got locked into running battles with police while some demonstrators threw water bottles filled with rocks at officers. In Arequipa, Peru’s second city, police clashed with protesters that tried to storm the airport. Also in southern Peru, multinational firm Glencore decided to temporary shut down its Antapaccay copper mine after protesters attacked the site. –