Peru’s defense minister on Tuesday said the armed forces would take control of the “protection” of critical infrastructure, as protests that have resulted in at least six deaths continue. took place across the country after the overthrow of the former president.
of Peru The new president, Dina Boluarte, earlier in the day pledged to work with Congress to see if the next election could be held earlier than previously proposed and pleaded for calm.
She also said she will speak to other regional leaders who have come forward to defend jailed former President Pedro Castillo.
The former vice president was sworn in last Wednesday after Castillo illegally tried to dissolve Congress hours before being quickly removed from office by lawmakers and arrested shortly thereafter.
This move led to anger and at times violent protest by Castillo supporters demanding a new presidential election, was dispersed by police with tear gas and gunfire in an attempt to quell the unrest.
Boluarte has pledged to find a way to hold the elections scheduled for 2026 in April 2024.
“I am arranging a meeting with the (Congressional) constitutional committee so we can work together to shorten the timeframe,” she said, adding that she could not change the timing of the election without it. has congressional support.
Castillo is being investigated for sedition and conspiracy. He lashed out at his detention on Tuesday, and urged soldiers and police to lay down their weapons during the trial from a Lima prison.
“I have been unjustly and arbitrarily detained,” Castillo said in remarks streamed online by the court. He reiterated that he is innocent of the charges he faces.
In the above post Twitter soon after, Castillo said there had been a “massacre of my people” and again called on the armed forces to stop the bloodshed.
Peru’s Supreme Court later on Tuesday ruled the legal appeal from Castillo was unfounded.
Among the victims of the social unrest were five teenagers and a 38-year-old man who, according to the country’s ombudsman, on Tuesday said six people were killed during the protests, compared with with an earlier estimate of seven.
Some protesters burned public buildings, attacked police stations and blocked highways while demanding Boluarte’s resignation, promulgation of a new constitution and dissolution of Parliament.
In Lima, public schools were closed on Tuesday, while at least one key court in the capital announced it would close for the day after being stoned on Monday.
Three airports in Apurimac, Arequipa and the tourist center of Cusco remained closed on Tuesday due to the unrest.
Police reported that there was a highway blockade on Tuesday morning in 13 of the country’s 24 regions.
In response to the disruption, Defense Minister Alberto Otarola said the Peruvian government would declare a state of emergency on the highway system to ensure free transportation.
of the country armed forces was also charged with “protecting” infrastructure including the airport and hydroelectric power station, Otarola told journalists late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a diplomatic spat has raged between Peru’s new president and several leftist governments in the region, who have defended Castillo in a joint statement Monday.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said relations with Peru are currently at a standstill.
Boluarte said she plans to speak to leaders while also defending her predecessor’s arrest.
In a Twitter post, Jaime Quito, a lawmaker with the Marxist Peruvian Libre party that Castillo won in a narrow election last year, criticized both Boluarte and the conservative-dominated Congress as being coup plotters.
“They have declared war on the people,” he wrote.