CrisisWatch Peru

Deteriorated Situation

Protests rejecting Boluarte’s take-over intensified across country, killing scores and prompting widespread concern nationally and internationally; new president resisted calls to resign.

Renewed protests left dozens dead as security forces clashed with protesters. Protests, which first erupted in Dec 2022 after former President Castillo’s impeachment, 4 Jan resumed after two-week pause in southern Puno, Cusco, Apurimac and Arequipa regions, and central Junin department. Protesters continued to demand immediate elections, closure of Congress, new Constitution and removal of President Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in 7 Dec following Castillo’s removal. Violence 9 Jan escalated in Puno’s Juliaca city, where clashes between protesters and police left 19 dead. Massive protests in capital Lima 19-20 Jan once more descended into violence, leaving one dead and dozens more injured as police used tear gas to push back protesters. Police 21 Jan arrested well over 200 demonstrators who had stormed university in Lima day before. As of 30 Jan, 58 people have died during protests.

Boluarte refused to resign amid concerns over mounting violence. Prosecutor’s office 10 Jan opened investigation against Boluarte and members of her cabinet for alleged crimes of “genocide, aggravated homicide and serious injuries”. UN same day released statement voicing concern for “rising violence”, while EU 21 Jan condemned security forces’ “disproportionate use of force”. Boluarte 13 Jan apologised for violence but insisted she would not resign nor call constitutional assembly. Govt next day extended 30-day state of emergency in Lima and several other regions for another month. Boluarte 24 Jan called for “truce” and blamed “radicals” for violence, 27 Jan urged Congress to bring tentative April 2024 elections forward to Oct 2023; Congress next day rejected proposal but is set to vote again.

Relations with Honduras and Bolivia grew increasingly strained. Lima 9 Jan banned former Bolivian President Evo Morales and eight Bolivian citizens from entering Peru, accusing them of interfering in Peru’s internal affairs. Morales, who has denounced Castillo’s arrest as illegal, same day said ban aimed to “distract from “human rights abuses”. Foreign ministry 26 Jan recalled its ambassador to Honduras after Honduran President Xiomara Castro 24 Jan condemned Boluarte’s “coup d'état”.

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