Peru President Dina Boluarte seeks to move up elections after two killed in protests

Police clashed with demonstrators calling for a national strike, new elections and the release of former leader Pedro Castillo

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Newly sworn-in Peruvian President Dina Boluarte will present a bill to Congress as she seeks to hold elections two years early in April 2024, after protests triggered by the arrest of her predecessor left two people dead.

“Interpreting the will of the citizens … I have decided to take the initiative to reach an agreement with the Congress of the Republic to advance general elections to the month of April of 2024,” Ms Boluarte said in a televised address on Sunday.

Two people were killed during protests against Peru's new government on Sunday as police clashed with angry demonstrators calling for a national strike, new elections and the release of former president Pedro Castillo.

The protests have grown, notably in the northern and Andean towns, since the South American country's legislature impeached Mr Castillo on Wednesday after he tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.

After his impeachment, Mr Castillo, a leftist, was quickly arrested and Ms Boluarte, a former prosecutor who had served as his vice president, was quickly sworn in to replace him.

On Saturday, she introduced her new cabinet, a group with an independent and technocratic profile and including eight women. She named former prosecutor Pedro Angulo as Prime Minister.

On Sunday, demonstrators in cities including Cajamarca, Arequipa, Huancayo, Cusco and Puno demanded Mr Castillo's release.

New clashes broke out on Sunday between protesters and police in the southern city of Andahuaylas, leaving two dead and at least five wounded, including a police officer, as demonstrators attempted to storm the city's airport, authorities said.

Demonstraters in Peru are calling for early elections and the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, who took office on December 7 after the impeachment of her predecessor Pedro Castillo. EPA

Riot police were stationed at the airport to contain the thousands of protesters in Andahuaylas, which lies in Ms Boluarte's home region of Apurimac.

Protesters used slingshots and hurled stones while police responded with tear gas, images from the scene broadcast by local TV showed. A police station in the Apurimac town of Huancabamba was set on fire, RPP radio reported.

“I urge people to remain calm,” Interior Minister Cesar Cervantes told the radio station, announcing the second death shortly after police confirmed that a teenager had died.

Clashes in Andahuaylas on Saturday resulted in 16 civilians and four police officers being wounded.

“No Peruvians life should be sacrificed for political interests,” Ms Boluarte tweeted on Sunday evening, repeating a call for “dialogue and the rejection of violence”.

The country's right-leaning Congress convened in emergency session Sunday afternoon to discuss the crisis, but had to be suspended after physical altercations broke out.

In images posted on social media, a man punched another man from behind while members shoved each other in the centre of the chamber.

About 1,000 to 2,000 people rallied in Lima on Sunday shouting, “Castillo you are not alone, the people support you” and brandishing signs accusing “Dina and Congress” of being “corrupt rats”, before police dispersed the crowd with tear gas.

Updated: December 12, 2022, 11:04 AM