The unrest of the last four nights, and other peaceful protests in the capital, Lima and other cities, are putting pressure on a fragmented Congress and President Manuel Merino’s new government.
On Thursday night, police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters, some of whom threw stones at police and destroyed store windows and cash machines. The performances were the largest in Peru in two decades.
The politically dissident center, Vijkara, who is popular with voters, was dismissed on Monday on charges of taking bribes at the impeachment trial – charges he denied.
Merino, a member of the Center-Right Popular Action Party, who had been the Congress chief, was sworn into his new cabinet on Thursday and called him calm.
Peru’s national human rights coordinator said 11 people were injured on Thursday, including some journalists. Lima Hospital said at least two people were injured by rubber bullets. Police numbered 27 including injured officers.
“All of Peru has been fired, we are all very angry,” said Jose Vega, a Lima keeper.
Some compared Merino to the coronavirus virus epidemic and stated that he did not represent them.
“They treat us poorly. We have only come to protest against injustice,” Vega said. “We are all feeling pain. Therefore, I am telling everyone not to give up.”
Interior Minister Gaston Rodriguez denied reports that police had used deadly weapons and said they had only fired tear gas and rubber bullets when a protest went out of hand.
“He said that the police response is when there is an attack on public property or when there is a direct attack like yesterday,” he told reporters.
Police said 16 civilians were injured in the protests, most of them killed by rubber bullets, and 11 policemen were also injured.
Vijaykara conducted an anti-corruption campaign, which has led to a history of political turmoil and corruption with the Congress. On Friday, a judge ordered Vizcara to leave Peru, while prosecutors now investigate the charges against him.
The crisis created by his departure stunned Peru, the world’s no. 2 copper producers, and saw its Soul Currency recording a record. It fell again on Friday and the central bank said it would intervene to help stabilize the currency.
International human rights groups have expressed concern about the use of force by police against protesters, and the Organization of American States to clarify the Constitutional Court of Peru on the constitutionality of the impeachment process.
Countries including the United States and Britain have voiced their concerns about the situation and said that it is important to hold fresh elections as planned. Most statements do not directly mention President Merino.
“We are defending Peru’s democracy with peace and tranquility,” said Gino Costa, an MLA from the Progressive Morado Party, who joined Thursday’s protests.