The crisis in Peru: The protests intensify, the government entrenched itself

The crisis in Peru: The protests intensify, the government entrenched itself

The day after its anniversary, Lima woke up to tanks and a contingent of 11,800 police officers moving through the historic center. Law enforcement officials were tasked with mitigating the effects of the so-called Great March of the Four Suyos, which brought together various civil organizations from the country’s southern highlands. For the first time since the social upheavals broke out last December, there would be a massive mobilization from the regions to the capital. And the government was prepared for it. In a nightly speech to the nation, President Dina Boluarte assured the nation that the government would remain “firm” and criticized the demonstrators: “They want to cause chaos in order to take power.”

There was great uncertainty as to whether the people of Lima would join en masse, and it did to some extent. In the anteroom, students from the most important public universities in Lima, such as the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) and the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI), shook hands with the demonstrators with accommodation and donations. Some with the consent of their authorities, like UNI, and others against them, as in the case of San Marcos, which took their campus by force. Both units were surrounded by police agents in the morning, but no confrontation ensued.

The long-awaited march was called for four o’clock in the afternoon in various parts of the capital, causing disorganization that stretched throughout the day and took its toll at the end. The protest did not achieve its goal: it did not reach the palace or Congress. In the afternoon there was a great repression in Abancay, a strategic avenue as it leads towards the headquarters of the legislature. There were no injuries, but some injured. As far as is known, none with firearms. Unlike in the southern Sierra regions, police in the capital did not use deadly weapons. The treatment to “control” the mobilizations was clearly not the same.

Just before eight o’clock, Plaza San Martín in central Lima appeared to be a favorable setting for the protest. People continued to arrive in large numbers. And finally he had encouraged himself to go to Congress. At that very moment, an old house in one of the corners of the square began to burn. Amid the confusion, police regained ground and once again circled the square. As the fire consumed the building, the march was consumed. And the protesters eventually dispersed. More than five fire trucks and three water tankers were needed to bring the fire under control. A group of unidentified neighbors pointed out that the incident was caused by a tear gas bomb falling on the roof, although the government later denied this.

As the building’s flames turned the Lima sky red, President Dina Boluarte delivered a message to the nation in which, far from empathizing with a large group of citizens marching in the streets, she demonized the protest by she noted that it is about “Some bad citizens trying to break the rule of law, create chaos and disorder, and seize power.” He assured that “the government is steadfast and its cabinet more united than ever”.

While this was happening in Lima, a citizen died in Juliaca who had been seriously injured by a gunshot the night before. This was the second victim in Macusani, Carabaya province, where a group of residents set fire to a police station and the judiciary headquarters on Wednesday night. But it wasn’t the only incident in the region bordering Bolivia. Once again, the Juliaqueños attempted to take over Inca Manco Cápac Airport and were turned back by the police. The result: seven civilians and two injured officers.

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In Arequipa, the confiscation added 55 casualties to the conflict. Jhancarlo Condori Arcana, a 30-year-old boy who sustained a fatal abdominal wound. In the White City, protesters also tried to enter Alfredo Rodríguez Ballon Airport, without success. The executive declared a state of emergency for 30 days in the Amazonas, La Libertad and Tacna regions. After this first big march in the capital, the demonstrators will stay on the streets.

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