LIMA (Reuters) – Demonstrators blocked major roads and forced the closure of five airports in Peru as violent protests flared up again on Friday following the ousting and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo.
Eight people were killed on Thursday in clashes between security forces and protesters in Ayacucho, according to local officials, after a Supreme Court panel ordered 18 months of pre-trial detention for Castillo, while charging him with “insurrection”. and conspiracy” charges were being probed.
Demonstrators are demanding early elections, the closure of Congress, a Constituent Assembly, and the resignation of new President Dina Boluaarte, who attempted to dissolve Congress hours after being removed from office by a vote of Congress. Took over from Castillo.
Castillo has denied wrongdoing and says he remains the country’s legitimate president.
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Ileana Revolar, head of Peru’s ombudsman’s office, said in an interview with local radio RPP that the death toll from the protests could be as high as 20.
In Ayacucho, protesters set fire to the local judiciary and prosecutor’s offices, and security forces used weapons to repel attacks at the airport and other locations, Revolar said.
A criminal complaint has been filed with prosecutors specializing in human rights to determine “responsibility for serious violations” in the Ayacucho province of Huamanga, the ombudsman’s office said in a statement.
Boluaarte’s government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, giving police special powers and limiting freedoms, including the right of assembly, but that appears to have had little effect in curbing the protests.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
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