Friday, 05 March, 2021


Thousands of Peruvians rally against Manuel Merino, interim government stands firm

Massive Protests in Peru Against 'Legislative Coup' That Ousted President Martín Vizcarra Peru's ex-President Vizcarra barred from leaving country_china.org.cn
Bennie Garza | 15 November, 2020, 19:59

At least 27 people have been wounded in clashes between police and protestors as thousands of Peruvians took to the streets to demonstrate against the dismissal of President Martin Vizcarra, police and rights groups said on Friday. Few countries in the region extended congratulations to the new leader and many are calling on him to keep in place a planned April election.

Some demonstrators and journalists were injured with tear gas and shotgun pellets, El Comercio newspaper reported.

Merino, a member of the centre-right Popular Action party who had been the head of Congress, moved quickly to swear in a new cabinet this week after Vizcarra was removed on Monday. "The people are against this government led by Merino".

Global human rights groups have expressed concern about the use of force by police against protesters and the Organization of American States has called for Peru's Constitutional Court to clarify the situation [Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo] Vizcarra oversaw an anti-graft campaign that led to frequent clashes with Congress in a country that has a history of political upheaval and corruption.

Analysts say the demonstrations - and the heavy-handed police response - are a clear sign that Merino will have difficulty governing.

University student Yessenia Medina was trying to concentrate on her virtual psychology class when a stunning headline popped up on her screen: Peru's Congress had voted to oust the nation's popular president.

"We Peruvians really want to regain peace of mind".

Legislators accused Vizcarra of poorly handling the pandemic and held up unproven accusations that he took more than $630,000 in bribes in exchange for two construction contracts while governor of a small province in southern Peru years ago.

The meeting of the leaders of the nine parties in Congress was called by the body's new speaker, Luis Valdez, who said the situation in Peru had become "untenable" after the police crackdown.

The South American country has the world's highest per capita death rate from the virus, which has caused almost 35,000 deaths and more than 930,000 infections.

"This country won't let the deaths of these courageous youths go unpunished", Vizcarra wrote.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to tame the unrest, and humans rights groups said their use of force was excessive.

"We are documenting cases of police brutality in downtown Lima", José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch, wrote on Twitter.

The city echoed with sirens, shouts and chants of protesters demanding Merino´s removal.

Vizcarra said protests must be allowed and called on the people to express themselves peacefully.

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