Peru Protests: President Boluarte ‘Will Not Resign’ Despite Weeks of Violence

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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Protester arrested by security forcesImage source, Getty Images
Dozens of people have been killed in the unrest that has gripped Peru

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte has refused to step down despite weeks of anti-government protests rocking the deeply divided country.

“I will not resign. My commitment is with Peru,” she said in a live televised address on Friday night.

Violent clashes in recent weeks have left dozens dead and scores injured.

Ms Boluarte said she regretted deaths that happened during clashes with the security forces, but she insisted she would continue as leader.

The violence was triggered by the arrest of the former president, Pedro Castillo in December, after he attempted to suspend Congress after losing an impeachment vote.

Mr Castillo’s supporters have been demanding new elections and calling for Ms Boluarte’s removal.

But the president rejected the possibility of calling a constitutional assembly as demanded by protestors, saying it could not happen overnight.

She has accused radical factions of causing chaos, disorder and destruction and bringing the country to a standstill.

Several members of Ms Boluarte’s government resigned on Friday, including the interior minister. The country also saw a tenth consecutive day of clashes following a new year lull.

Earlier in the week, Peru’s public prosecutor launched a preliminary investigation into genocide allegations against Ms Boluarte relating to deaths of protestors in the unrest.

The head of US diplomacy for Latin America, Brian Nichols, wrote on Twitter that Washington was “deeply concerned about ongoing violence in Peru and saddened by the injuries and deaths”.

“We support peace on all sides and the government’s stated commitments to address the challenges gripping the country,” he added.

Guatemalan lawyer Stuardo Ralon called for an investigation into allegations of excessive force by the security forces.

Puno governor Richard Hancco, whose southern department became the epicentre of clashes between protesters and security forces, asked: “How many more deaths will Dina Boluarte’s presence in the presidency cost?”

Mr Castillo, a former elementary school teacher who was forced out of office in December, has been remanded in custody for 18 months for trying to dissolve Congress.

He is also being investigated for fraud during his presidential tenure.

Ms Boluarte, who was the vice-president under Mr Castillo, called for all sides to reject violence and seek compromise.

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