Protester killed in Peru’s capital, rising crisis toll to 58

January 29, 2023 GMT

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A protester has been killed in Lima during brutal clashes between police and demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.

It was the first such death in Peru’s capital. Víctor Santisteban Yacsavilca, 55, suffered a severe head injury during clashes with law enforcement in downtown Lima on Saturday, Peru’s ombudsman said.

A total of 58 people, including one police officer, have now died amid the unrest across Peru that began after then-President Pedro Castillo was impeached and later arrested for trying to dissolve Congress on Dec. 7. Boluarte, who was then vice president, took over.

Protesters descended on Peru’s capital earlier this month to expand demonstrations that had earlier largely been focused in the country’s south and exposed deep divisions between residents of the capital and the long-neglected countryside.

Large protests also took place Saturday in Peru’s southern Cusco region.


The demonstrations demanding Boluarte’s resignation as well as the dissolution of Congress and early elections had been turning increasingly violent as frustrated protesters became angry at the way the government ignored their demands and staunchly defended the work of the police that met them with volleys of tear gas and pellets.

Groups of protesters remained in downtown Lima until late in the night but were often dispersed by police using tear gas.

“They’re bastards, but we won’t get tired,” Julián Martínez said as he wore a Peruvian flag on his back that had the words, “Dina murderer.”

Earlier, Boluarte had expressed regret that Congress failed to approve a measure that could have moved presidential elections forward to later this year.

“We regret that Congress was not able to come to an agreement to set a date for general elections,” the presidency said in a message posted on social media.

Lawmakers shot down a bill late Friday that would have moved elections to the end of the year, although the measure could be reconsidered.

Boluarte, who had already expressed support for holding elections in 2024 rather than the previously scheduled 2026, called on Congress earlier this week to approve a schedule that could lead to a national vote later this year.

Almost two-thirds of Peruvians agree elections should be held later this year, according to a poll published by local newspaper La República Sunday.

There were 80 road blockades across the country Saturday as part of the protests, according to Peru’s ombudsman.