Thousands of people from the Aymara indigenous community continued, this Tuesday, to protest in the region of Puno, in the south of Peru, demanding the resignation of the President, Dina Boluarte, and the scheduling of early elections, after the removal of former President Pedro Castillo and his arrest. And they warn the central power that if it continues to send the military to try to control the protests, it will end up triggering “a civil war”.
“We will not get tired. For us, the strike continues. For us, there is no dialogue. The only thing we want is for Dina Boluarte to resign,” said David Yujra, spokesman for civil society in the province of Puno. “Despite having killed 21 of our compatriots, now they want to humiliate us even more by sending the military,” he added, speaking to the newspaper. The Republic.
“They provoke us more and more. We will continue, whatever happens”, assured Yujra.
The indefinite strike in Puno, which began on January 4th, a month after Castillo was arrested for trying to close Congress and govern by decree, has lasted for about 50 days and it is expected that, this week, tens of thousands of people from the country’s 13 provinces come together to march together to the capital, Lima.
In the homonymous capital of the province of Puno, in the Andean highlands, around 20,000 Aymara gathered on Monday to give new life to the protests.
Since Castillo’s arrest at the beginning of December, protests have spread across the country, leading the authorities to violently repress demonstrators, leaving a balance of nearly 60 dead. Several non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, have denounced human rights violations committed by the police and military.
Castillo, an inexperienced politician who gained notoriety with his leadership of a teachers’ strike in 2017, has faced hostility from Congress, business circles and some press since taking power in late July 2021. Parliament, before trying to avoid the third with a self-coup that ended up leading to his removal and subsequent imprisonment.
On Friday, Congress approved a constitutional corruption charge against the former president, which will allow him to be held even if the rebellion charge is not accepted.
Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s vice-president who agreed to inherit the position after the head of state was ousted, has been contested in the streets since the first moment and, despite asking Congress to bring forward the elections for the second half of this year (the congressmen refused), refuses to leave office, alleging that it would not resolve the crisis in any way.