At least 20 people have been reported dead as protests continue in Peru over the impeachment and arrest of ex-president Pedro Castillo.
The unrest was triggered by Castillo’s attempt to close Congress, which was described as a coup and lead to his ousting from office.
The protests have called for his release and reinstatement. Demonstrators backing Castillo want new president Dina Boluarte to go – as well as early elections and the closure of Congress.
Boluarte, who was Castillo’s vice-president, has stated that she has no intentions to resign.
Boluarte has tried to quell the protests, emphasizing her own humble roots and support for protesters’ demands that elections, scheduled for 2026, be pushed up to next year, a proposal which Congress rejected.
“Didn’t you see me walking across the country, filling plazas and looking for votes among brothers and sisters?” said Boluarte, who served as Castillo’s running mate and only broke with him following his attempt to dissolve Congress. “Then why this violence in the streets? I didn’t look to be here. I tried to protect him as much as I could.”
Castillo, who is currently in detention, is being investigated on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. He denies all the accusation, insisting that is still the country’s legitimate president.
Clashes on Thursday between the army and Castillo supporters in the central Ayacucho region left at least eight people dead, health authorities said. Footage on social media showed protesters blocking main roads and airports.