Peru. Thousands of people protested in Lima. The death toll is rising due to unrest across the country

Thousands of demonstrators, angered by the rising death toll since the unrest began in December 2022, have flocked to Peru’s capital, Lima. Police estimated that about 3,500 people took part in the march, but it may have been twice as many.

In the past month, violent protests have unleashed violence not seen in Peru in more than 20 years, Reuters reported. Clashes with security forces have killed at least 54 people and wounded another 772, including security forces, since the unrest began, the Peruvian Ombudsman’s office said Thursday.

Burning historic building in San Martin Square, LimaPAP/EPA/STR

Police in Lima fought back against stone-throwing protesters on Thursday, and a historic building in the city’s historic center, San Martín Square, caught fire. The fire brigade told local radio that the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, which has yet to be explained. Interior Minister Vicente Romero has cast doubt on claims circulating on social media that a police officer fired tear gas at the fire.

Protest in LimaPAP/EPA/STR

In the southern city of Arequipa, police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters and attempted to take over the airport on local television, prompting authorities to suspend operations at Arequipa and Cusco airports.

The state of emergency has been extended in the country

Last week, the government of President Dina Boluarte was extended Emergency In the southern cities of Lima and Puno and Cuzco. Poluarte said the situation was “under control”. He apologized for the deaths of some of the demonstrators. Protesters describe the president as a “murderer” and call the killings by security forces “massacres”.

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Peru’s public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation against Polwart, alleging that she and members of her government may have committed crimes while pacifying the protests.

Protest in LimaImage taken on January 13, 2023PAP/EPA/Renato Pajuelo

Participants in the protests, which have been ongoing since December, have been demanding the release of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, his reinstatement as head of state and early parliamentary elections in the country in 2023. Many from the country’s poorer, rural areas express their anger at Lima’s establishment over social inequalities and rising prices.

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Riots erupted in Peru shortly after Castillo’s arrest on December 7. After the left-wing politician was impeached, former vice-president Bolvarde was appointed to the country’s highest post.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/STR

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