Lima: At least 12 people were killed in clashes near Juliaca airport in southeastern Peru on Monday, said the local ombudsman’s office, reported DW News.
The anti-government protesters, demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, attempted to enter an airport, where they clashed with law enforcement officials.
“We ask the forces of law and order to make a legal, necessary and proportional use of force and we urge the state prosecutor’s office to carry out a prompt investigation to clarify the facts,” the ombudsman’s office wrote on Twitter.
Protest began in early December
The anti-government protests began in Peru in early December following the removal and arrest of then-president Pedro Castillo shortly after his attempt to illegally dissolve Congress, reported DW News.
Protesters in Peru have erected new blockades and expanded their demonstrations in several regions, as calls for new elections and the release of detained former President Pedro Castillo grow across the country.
He is serving 18 months in pre-trial detention on charges of rebellion, which he denies.
Protest growing despite new president’s early election pledge
Meanwhile, the protest is growing despite new president’s early election pledge. President Dina Boluarte promises to hold a vote in 2024 amid growing protests demanding the release of ex-President Pedro Castillo.
Protests resumed last week after a holiday lull. Apart from early elections and the release of Castillo, the protestors are calling for the resignation of new President Dina Boluarte, closure of Congress and changes to the constitution, reported DW News.
Juliaca, located in the Puno region on the border with Bolivia, has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. An open-ended strike was declared there on January 4.
Protests swiftly broke out across the country, with many supporters of the detained former leader demanding that Peru hold elections rather than allow Boluarte to stay in power until Castillo’s term ends in 2026. Some protesters have also called for Congress to be shut down.
The demands for new elections come as recent polls show nearly nine in 10 Peruvians disapprove of the nation’s legislature amid years of political scandals and instability. The country is now on its sixth president since 2016.
The power struggle in the country has continued as the Andes region and its thousands of small farms struggle to survive the worst drought in a half-century.