Demonstrators invade Arequipa Airport;  The death toll in the protests in Peru rises to 53

Demonstrators invade Arequipa Airport; The death toll in the protests in Peru rises to 53

Peruvian protesters entered the international airport of this Thursday, 19 Arequipathe second largest city in the Peru, and clashed with police at the scene. The invasion is part of protests demanding the president’s resignation Dina Boluarte.

According to the Peruvian Ministry of the Interior, after hours of clashes, the military managed to fend off the demonstrators from the airport. The EFE agency’s report says that a plane and armored vehicles from the armed forces were sent to the site to reinforce Peruvian control in the area.

The conflicts in Arequipa left at least one person dead, bringing the death toll to 54 in clashes with the national police. “We deplore the death of a person during the clashes on the Añashuayco Bridge, north of the city (of Arequipa),” the Public Ombudsman said on Twitter, before asking prosecutors for a quick investigation into the matter “in order to determine responsibilities.” .

Peruvian police fired tear gas at protesters in the Arequipa region this Thursday, the 19th, in a bid to protect the perimeter of the city's airportPeruvian police fire tear gas at protesters in the Arequipa region this Thursday, the 19th, to protect the perimeter of the city’s airport Photo: Jose Sotomayor / AP 01/19/2023

In Lima, where thousands of demonstrators have arrived from the interior of the country in recent days, clashes with the police have been registered in the center of the capital. The demonstrators are supporters of the former president Pedro Castilloarrested after a coup attempt in December.

According to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, around 200 people entered Arequipa’s airport after breaching the metal fence armed with stones and pieces of wood. Airport operations had been suspended since 1 p.m. (Brasília time, 11 a.m. in Lima) by order of the Ministry of Transport, which feared an invasion. “This action is being carried out to ensure the integrity of citizens and the safety of flight operations,” announced the portfolio.

The Arequipa region of southern Peru was the scene of clashes between protesters and the National Police this Thursday, at the start of a national day of protests aimed at taking a march through Lima to demand the resignation. According to radio station RPP, construction workers blocked one of the entrances to the city on the San Isidro Bridge and clashed with police as they arrived to clear the area with tear gas.

As a result of the clash, three protesters were injured and taken to Arequipa Regional Hospital, the channel added.


Hours after the conflicts in Arequipa, the Interior Ministry also decided to preemptively close Cusco Airport, the gateway to Machu Picchu. “The Ministry of Transport and Communications announces that the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco will temporarily cease operations as a preventive measure,” he announced on Twitter.

Hundreds of citizens have marched through the city’s main streets as part of the nationwide shutdown. However, no invasions or attempted invasions were recorded at the airport as of Thursday evening, as in Arequipa.

In Lima, thousands of Peruvians have poured into the city in recent hours to take part in a national march dubbed “The Taking of Lima.” The demonstrators mostly indigenous groups, farmers and students travel mainly from the regions Cusco, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Puno and apurimac Convened by the General Federation of Workers of Peru.

These regions combined gave former President Pedro Castillo more than 70% of the vote in the election that put him in power in 2021, a portrait of the divisions between the capital and the interior.

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Understand the political crisis in Peru

Security forces were placed on high alert and President Boluarte asked that the protests not turn into acts of violence an appeal echoed by the Ombudsman. The National Police of Peru announced that 11,800 agents have been mobilized to control the demonstrations called for this Thursday.

In addition to the marches in the capital, the stop also led to blockades in 127 parts of the country and demonstrations in several regions.

The demonstrations are calling for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, who took power in December after Pedro Castillo was ousted and imprisoned for attempted coup d’état, and for a constituent assembly to be convened. Boluarte is Peru’s sixth president in less than five years and was investigated after the deaths in the genocide protests. Demonstrators claim she has seized power.

In view of the social crisis, the opening round of the Apertura 2023 national football championship has been postponed. The first game was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, a match between Sporting Cristal and Deportivo Cantolao in Lima. The suspension applies at least until January 23 and is intended to “prevent and avoid risks that affect the safety and physical integrity of people”.

With the continuity of the demonstrations, the number of dead Peruvians increased this Thursday.

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Earlier this Thursday in the Puno region, a man died at the San Martín de Porres hospital, where he was being treated after the clashes that took place this Wednesday 18th, bringing the total number of deaths during the antigovernment protests to 53. . The victim has been identified as 30yearold Salomón Valenzuela Chua. /EFE, AFP, NYT