55 dead amid police response to Peru anti-government protests News
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55 dead amid police response to Peru anti-government protests

The Ombudsman Office of Peru (Defensoría del Pueblo del Perú) Saturday reported that 55 people have been killed by authorities amid ongoing protests against President Dina Boluarte’s government. The office also reported that it inquired into the arrest of 191 people in Lima and interviewed police to determine when protestors may be released.

In further statements on the unrest, the office said law enforcement and protestors must ensure peace. “The right to peaceful protest does not include acts of violence against other people, police officers or members of the Armed Forces,” one statement noted. Another statement urged the National Police of Peru to respect the rights of protestors.

On Friday, Peru’s Culture Ministry announced the indefinite closure of the world heritage Inca Trail to Machu Picchu due to protest activity. Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Luis Fernando Helguero confirmed the safe transfer to Cusco of 418 Manchu Picchu visitors. Helguero reported that 148 foreign tourists and 270 Peruvian nationals were transported.

According to Human Rights Watch, former President Pedro Castillo attempted “to undermine the rule of law” in December when he “announced the temporary dissolution of Congress and the ‘reorganization’ of the judiciary, the Public Ministry, and other institutions, in what was effectively a coup.” Authorities removed Castillo and sentenced him to 18 months of pre-trial detention on rebellion charges, and Boluarte took office. The current unrest demands Boluarte’s removal and new elections. “I will not resign. My commitment is with Peru,” President Boluarte said in a televised address.