news Peru’s new leader proposes early elections as protests kill seven

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s new president on Monday proposed to lawmakers that elections be pushed forward by two years after at least seven people were killed in protests over the downfall of his predecessor. did.

Former Vice President Dina Boluarte took the oath last week after former President Pedro Castillo was removed from office by Congress and arrested for trying to dissolve Congress while preventing an impeachment vote against him.

Castillo’s supporters, however, argue that Volarte was not elected by the people. Demonstrators are taking to the streets demanding that Peru hold new elections, with some demanding the closure of parliament and the release of Castillo.

Peru’s head of the ombudsman’s office, Eliana Revolor, said seven people were killed in two days of protests.

Authorities in Apurimac reported two deaths on Monday, aged 16 and 18, and another death in Arequipa on Sunday, where two teenagers were killed.

“These are truly unnecessary deaths,” Levoror told local station Epicentro, adding that at least 32 civilians and 24 police officers were injured.

Peru’s sixth president in five years said he was proposing to move up the next general election to April 2024, citing “difficult times”. It was previously scheduled for 2026.

In a handwritten letter posted on his Twitter page on Monday, Castillo called Voluarte’s early election pledges a “dirty game”, mocked her as a “weaker” and called for an immediate Congress to rewrite the country’s constitution. I asked

Castillo also said he had no intention of stepping down as president despite being legally stripped of power. He is being held in a Lima prison and is being investigated by prosecutors on treason and conspiracy charges.

The left-wing governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and Colombia issued a joint statement on Monday calling for the protection of Castillo’s human rights and jurisdiction, stating that the “proxy” in Castillo’s dismissal prioritizes “the will of the citizens declared in the president”. added that it should. poll”

Castillo was narrowly elected with Boluarte as his vice presidential candidate last year.

Some private and indigenous groups at the world’s second-largest copper producer also announced Monday that they will be home to significant mining projects, including Las Bambas, a major copper mine owned by China’s MMG Ltd (1208.HK). announced a strike beginning with Apurimac.

A source at Ras Bambas, which has been fighting the blockade for years, told Reuters that it has been threatened with more blockades amid a “radicalization” of protests against the company by local residents.

“High Conflict”

Castillo, a former teacher and farmer’s farmer, has drawn strong support from rural and mining communities over the last year. But in his first year in office, he presided over an unprecedented turnover of senior cabinet ministers, while allegations of corruption against him grew.

Reuters Graphics

Protests involving hundreds or thousands of people have been taking place in Peru’s interior and in the capital city of Lima since last week, sometimes escalating into riots.

The United Nations Office for Human Rights warned of further escalation in a statement Monday, calling on authorities to exercise restraint and fully investigate the deaths of protesters.

In Apurimac, authorities ordered the closure of the airport following attacks by protesters, while parts of Peru’s main coastal highway were blocked in Ica and Arequipa on Monday.

LATAM Airlines (LTM.SN) said it had canceled flights to and from the city of Arequipa following reports of protesters encroaching on its runway.

“Dina Bolarte is not our representative. She is a traitor. She is incompetent,” Juan Cal said at a march in Lima, calling for the new president to be imprisoned and Castillo to be released.

Bolarte, 60, has declared a state of emergency in “conflict-ridden” areas to allow soldiers to take more control.

“I have given instructions so that the administration of internal order can be restored peacefully without affecting the basic rights of the people,” said Boruarte, who mourned the death.

Reporting by Marco Aquino. Written by Anthony Esposito and Sarah Morland. Edited by Alistair Bell and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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