Peru Protests: New President Boluarte Faces Genocide Inquiry

Peru's President Dina Boluarte, who was called on by Congress to take the office of president after the legislature approved the removal of President Pedro Castillo in an impeachment trial, attends her swearing-in ceremony in Lima, Peru December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda
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Peru’s top prosecutor has launched an inquiry into President Dina Boluarte and key ministers over weeks of clashes that have left at least 40 people dead.

The officials are being investigated on charges of “genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries”.

Violence erupted after ex-President Pedro Castillo was arrested in December for trying to dissolve Congress.

On Monday, 17 people died in clashes between Castillo supporters and security forces in south-eastern Peru.

Dozens more were injured in the city of Juliaca in what was the worst day of violence so far. Many of the victims had gunshot wounds.

The authorities accused the protesters of trying to overrun Juliaca’s airport and a local police station. An overnight curfew is now in place in the region.

On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office announced its decision to investigate Ms Boluarte, as well as Prime Minister Alberto Otárola along with the defence and interior ministers.

The president and her ministers have not publicly commented on the issue.

Castillo supporters – many of whom are poor indigenous Peruvians – say President Boluarte must resign, snap elections be held and the former president released.

Mr Castillo, a left-winger, tweeted from his prison cell, saying those defending Peru from what he called the coup dictatorship would never be forgotten.

In a separate development on Tuesday, Mr Otárola’s government comfortably won a vote of confidence in Congress.

The South American nation has been through years of political turmoil, with the latest crisis coming to a head when Mr Castillo announced he was dissolving Congress and introducing a state of emergency in December.

But Congress proceeded to vote overwhelmingly to impeach him.

The former president is being investigated on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. He denies all the accusations, insisting that he is still the country’s legitimate president.

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