Police clash with protesters in Lima. Photo: Martin Mejia/AP.
Following the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo last month, ongoing protests concentrated in Peru’s southern Andes have descended on the capital city of Lima. At least 53 people thus far have been killed in clashes with security forces—the worst political violence the country has experienced in more than two decades. President Dina Boluarte has resisted calls for her resignation, despite offering her support for a plan shifting elections originally scheduled for 2026 to 2024 and cooperating with a probe launched by Peru’s prosecutor investigating Boluarte and other ministers for their role in the Ayacucho and Juliaca police crackdowns which left dozens dead at the hands of security forces.
The protestors have demanded the government to hold new presidential and congressional elections, a constitutional convention to rewrite the country’s founding document, and fundamental structural reform to address the high levels of disparity between the urban coastal elite and the rural, largely indigenous periphery. In the town of Macusani, protestors burned a police station and judicial office, while in the city of Juliaca, a police crackdown left at least 17 people dead and over 100 injured. Former Minister of Interior Victor Rojas Herrera and Minister of Women and Vulnerable Populations Grecia Rojas Ortiz have both resigned following the resignation of Minister of Labor Eduardo García Birmisa, who released a statement calling for Boularte to apologize and hold fresh general elections.
Castillo is currently being held in pre-trial detention as he is investigated on charges of rebellion for what the constitutional court calls a “coup d’etat” after an unsuccessful attempt to dissolve Congress. The protests have prompted a statement condemning violence and calling for dialogue from the European Union, an observation mission from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as well as a meeting held between members of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) discussing the ongoing situation in Peru on January 18.