Peruvian president reacts to violent protests
Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, has proposed moving the next general election from 2026 to 2024 and declared a state of emergency in areas affected by protests and riots in support of the country’s detained former leader, Pedro Castillo.
A Peruvian president normally serves a five-year term and is barred from immediate reelection.
The last election took place in April 2021 and was won by Castillo. However, he was impeached and removed from office on Wednesday. Boluarte, who served as Castillo’s vice president, was sworn in as his successor the same day.
“I have decided to present a bill to reach an agreement with Congress to bring forward the general elections to April 2024,” Boluarte said in a speech on Monday.
“The homeland is living through difficult hours. Upon assuming the presidency, I stated that my government would seek dialogue, understanding and consensus among everyone and for everyone,” Boluarte said.
The announcement came after two young protesters died during clashes with police in the country’s southern Andahuaylas Province. Health officials said one victim was 18 years old, while the other one was under 15 and died when protesters tried to storm the local airport.
Castillo was ousted after trying to dissolve Congress in an effort to thwart a third attempt by the opposition to impeach him. He has since been detained and charged with rebellion. Castillo’s supporters view Boluarte taking power as illegitimate.
The Andahuaylas Airport was closed on Sunday after sustaining “attacks and vandalism,” Peru’s civil aviation agency CORPAC said. The agency reported that the runway had been badly damaged and some of the airport’s critical facilities were set on fire.
According to the Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office, 16 civilians and four police officers were injured during the clashes in Andahuaylas. Local media reported that protesters tried to storm government buildings in the city, but were repelled by police who fired tear gas. Protest rallies, clashes and roadblocks were also reported in the capital, Lima, and other parts of the country.