Two Dead, More Wounded In Peru As Violence Erupts After President’s Chaotic Ouster

(Photo by ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Two teenagers died and four people sustained injuries in clashes amid popular demonstrations in Peru Sunday that saw thousands demanding the country hold elections after the former president’s ouster, Reuters reported.

In response to the uprisings, Peru’s president Dina Boluarte said Monday she would submit a motion to Congress to move up the timeline for the country’s next elections by two years, Reuters reported. Boluarte became the country’s de facto leader after Congress ousted predecessor Pedro Castillo for a scheme to dissolve the legislature and stave off an attempted impeachment vote on Wednesday.

“I have decided to present a bill to reach an agreement with Congress to bring forward the general elections to April 2024,” Boluarte said in a national address, according to Reuters. “The homeland is experiencing difficult times.”

Hundreds or thousands of protesters, many supporters of Castillo, have flooded the streets of Peru’s capital city, Lima, and other interior municipalities in the days since Congress booted Castillo, according to Reuters. Some called for Congress to shut down and release Castillo from detention. (RELATED: Biden Admin Allows Chevron To Pump Oil In Communist Venezuela)

A 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died in the clashes “possibly as a result of gunshot wounds,” Eliana Revollar, the head of Peru’s ombudsman’s office, told local radio station RPP, according to The Guardian. At least four others were injured, including three with scalp wounds, and are being treated at a local hospital.

Authorities shuttered an airport in the Apurimac region in response to what they called an attack by protesters, while sections of a major highway running along Peru’s coast remain impeded, Reuters reported. Boluarte declared a state of emergency in “high conflict” areas.

Castillo, a former peasant farmer and Marxist politician, acceded to the presidency in 2021, and his term was scheduled to extend until 2026.

Castillo faced corruption allegations, including accepting $510,000 in exchange for granting Lima-based Heaven Petroleum a contract with the state-run oil company Petroperú to sell biodiesel, MercoPress reported. Peru’s Congress opened impeachment proceedings on Dec. 1 and slated to take a formal vote of removal on Wednesday, but Castillo sought to dissolve Congress and institute a state of emergency in a bid to preempt impeachment, according to Reuters.

First Vice President Boluarte had condemned Castillo’s move, according to PBS. However, some protesters have demanded her resignation, The Guardian reported.

“The death of this compatriot is the responsibility of Mrs Dina for not submitting her resignation,” said Congresswoman Maria Taipe Coronado, who is a member of the party both Castillo and Boluarte represented during their election campaign before both were kicked out, according to The Guardian.

Prosecutors hold Castillo in custody and are investigating him for crimes of “rebellion” and conspiracy, Reuters reported.

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