Political Protests in Peru

by Ciara Perez

Peru has been facing political protests since December 7, 2022, when President Pedro Castillo was ousted from power after an attempt to avoid impeachment by dissolving Congress. His actions resulted in impeachment, and his vice president, Dina Boluarte, stepped in, making her the sixth president in six years. Following this change in power, supporters rose in antigovernment protests, though they were mostly contained to the remote regions within Peru. Amid the protests, 56 people have died, “45 of whom died in direct clashes with security forces“.

However, the largest and most violent protest took place last Tuesday, January 24. Thousands gathered in protest in the capital of Lima, including people from remote Andean regions, to “demand [President] Boluarte’s resignation, immediate elections and the dissolution of Congress,” along with redrafting the country’s constitution. The use of tear gas and pellets on Tuesday is no surprise since Boluarte has answered the protests with repression and violence by deploying military forces, refusing to acknowledge the demands being made, and labeling the protestors far-left agitators. President Boluarte has since called for a political truce. She also enforced a “state of emergency across seven regions, including the capital, that has impeded basic civil liberties, including the right to assembly.” Besides the civilian lives lost, the protests have cost Peru roughly $521 million worth in damages to production and $782 million to infrastructure.

The path forward for Peru doesn’t look bright, as President Boluarte is moving in a more authoritarian direction. She has chosen to “criminalize the protests and forge a governing coalition with her former far-right enemies in Congress, as well as the police and armed forces.” Her disapproval rating is 71 percent, as protestors focus on seeking new elections. As of now, a second vote is pending to determine whether or not Peru’s Congress will move the election up to 2024 from 2026. 

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