The President of Peru Dina Boluarte during a press conference in Lima, Tuesday, January 24, 2023. MARTIN MEJIA/AP
Tirelessly pushed to the exit door by protesters demanding her resignation, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte called for a “national ceasefire” during an intervention before the foreign press on Tuesday, January 24, while accusing the protesters of “violent groups”. “who want to create chaos”. “This is not a peaceful protest,” she explained, wearing a white suit and a cross around her neck.
While the demonstrations demanding his resignation did not mitigate the dissolution of parliament and the creation of a constituent assembly, the head of state does not accept any responsibility for the repression that has already claimed 46 lives. The country’s Attorney General has nonetheless launched an investigation into them for “genocide and manslaughter,” and on Monday, January 23, Peruvian lawyers filed a “crimes against humanity” complaint before the International Criminal Court.
In her speech on Tuesday, she once again congratulated the police on their “impeccable” action and found particularly harsh words for the Puno region (south), a region affected by the death of 21 people in demonstrations. In particular, she implied that the protesters used “homemade weapons” that caused the deaths of their fellow citizens.
Gap between the capital and the poor provinces
The President ruled out resigning. “Would my resignation solve the crisis and the violence? Who would assume the presidency of the republic? “, she asked. But she assured that she would respect the constitution and intend to withdraw at the next elections – parliament agreed in the first instance to bring her forward to April 2024 [un second vote est nécessaire]. “I have no intention of staying in power,” she said.
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The riots began on December 7 after the sacking and arrest of left-wing President Pedro Castillo, who was accused of attempting a coup d’état to dissolve parliament intended to oust him from power.
Ms. Boluarte, former vice-president of Mr. Castillo with whom she was elected on the same card in 2021, stressed that, like him, she is from the Andes. “It suited him to pull off this coup to bully himself (…) and not to answer to the public prosecutor for the alleged acts of corruption. There are no victims here, Mr. Castillo: there is a country that is bleeding because of your irresponsibility,” she said.
The crisis also reflects the wide rift between the capital and the poor provinces, which supported President Castillo and saw his election as revenge for Lima’s contempt. In the afternoon, a large demonstration with thousands of poor demonstrators from the Andean regions was to take place in the Peruvian capital.
Also listen to Political Crisis, Murderous Repression: What’s Happening in Peru?