Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Peru’s capital and were met with volleys of tear gas and pellets amid clashes with security forces just hours after President Dina Boluarte called for a “truce” in almost two months of protests.
The anti-government protest on Tuesday was the largest – and most violent – since last Thursday, when large groups of people, many from remote Andean regions, descended on the capital to demand Boluarte’s resignation, immediate elections and the dissolution of Congress.
Before last week, most of the large anti-government protests that followed the removal of President Pedro Castillo took place in remote regions of Peru, largely in the country’s south, exposing deep divisions between residents of the capital and the long-neglected countryside.
The crisis that has sparked Peru’s worst political violence in more than two decades began when Castillo, Peru’s first leader from a rural Andean background, tried to short-circuit the third impeachment proceeding of his young administration by ordering Congress dissolved on December 7.
Lawmakers impeached him instead, the national police arrested him before he could find sanctuary and Boluarte, who was his vice president, was sworn in.
Since then, 56 people have died amid the unrest involving Castillo’s supporters, 45 of whom died in direct clashes with security forces, according to Peru’s ombudsman. None of the deaths have been in Lima.