Lima, Peru (AP) – Peru’s interim president was pressured to resign on Sunday after a night of protests that killed two people and deepened the country’s political turmoil.
At least nine members of Manuel Merino’s cabinet stepped down and the Congress president scheduled an emergency session to discuss the leader’s resignation.
Thousands came through Lima’s streets as chaotic events, wearing masks and reading signs that read, “Merino is not president.” Officials said two people between the ages of 24 and 25 died of gunfire during the demonstrations.
Marino, a little-known politician and rice farmer, arrived in Peru’s highest office on Monday after the legislature voted to oust former President Martin Vizcarra. MPs used a clause in the 19th century based on unrestricted allegations to declare the president of “permanent moral incompetence” accepting bribes when he served as governor years ago.
Angry Peruans have come out on the streets angry at the daily Peru protests, alleging a parliamentary coup by the Congress.
Merino, who recently served as Congress chief, did not immediately respond to a growing call for his resignation following Saturday’s protest.
Earlier on Saturday, the hug leader told a local radio station that protests against him had been denied, with young people demonstrating against unemployment and not being able to complete their studies amid the coronavirus epidemic.
Peru has the world’s highest per capita COVID-19 death rate and has one of the region’s worst economic contractions this year.
Prime Minister Ministerntero Flores-Aráoz told RPP radio on Sunday that he is trying to get the post of president without any luck.
The protests are unlike anything seen in recent years as largely fueled by young people indifferent to the nation’s notoriously turbulent politics, who oust Vijkara as power-grabbing by lawmakers.
The Poles show that most Peruvians wanted Vizcara to remain in office. The former president is popular for his anti-corruption crusade, which has led to frequent clashes with the legislature, where half of the members are under investigation themselves.
“I am deeply saddened by the deaths caused by the suppression of this illegal and illegitimate government,” Vijaykara wrote on Twitter. “The country will not let the death of these brave youth go in vain.”
International rights organizations have warned that police are using excessive force in an attempt to calm protests. Dozens of people have been injured by rubber bullets and tear gas has been deployed near homes and hospitals.
“We are documenting police vandalism cases in the city of Lima,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, US director of Human Rights Watch. “Everything indicates repression against peaceful protesters is swift.”