Two Killed In Peru Protests

At least two people have been killed in Peru after police clashed with protesters calling for new elections and the release of detained former President Pedro Castillo.

The deaths on Sunday came as protests against Castillo’s impeachment and arrest expanded across Peru, most notably in northern and Andean towns.

The preceded an announcement by President Dina Boluarte, the country’s vice president who was quickly sworn in to replace Castillo last week.

“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 speech to the nation early Monday, adding she would introduce the legislation in the “coming days”.

Castillo, a former school teacher and union leader, was removed from his post by legislators on Wednesday after he sought to dissolve Congress ahead of an impeachment vote. The former president was arrested shortly afterwards, with prosecutors charging him with rebellion and conspiracy.

Protests swiftly broke out across the country, with many supporters of the detained former leader demanding that Peru hold elections rather than allow Boluarte to stay in power until Castillo’s term ends in 2026.

Some protesters have also called for Congress to be shut down.

It was not immediately clear if Boluarte’s announcement would calm the unrest.

Protests were reported in cities across Peru’s interior, including Cajamarca, Arequipa, Huancayo, Cusco and Puno.

In Andahuaylas in the Apurimac region, clashes broke out as demonstrators attempted to storm the southern city’s airport, authorities said. Protesters fired slingshots and hurled stones while police responded with tear gas, images from the scene broadcast by local TV showed.

Eliana Revollar, the head of Peru’s ombudsman’s office, told a radio station that a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old died during the clashes “possibly as a result of gunshot wounds”.

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