Peru’s New Government Declares National Emergency Amid Deadly Protests

December 15, 2022

Peru’s new government declared a national emergency Wednesday amid violent protests that have turned deadly over the ousting of President Pedro Castillo, including the suspension of the rights of “personal security and freedom” for 30 days.

The declaration also suspends the rights of assembly and freedom of movement. It empowers the police, supported by the military, to search people’s homes without permission or judicial order. It remains to be determined whether a nightly curfew will be imposed.

Defense Minister Luis Otarola Peñaranda said acts of violence, vandalism and highway blockades “require a forceful and authoritative response from the government.”

Thousands of Peruvian protesters have taken to the streets during a week of unrest following the swearing in of Peru’s new President, Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in last week within hours of Castillo being ousted.

Boluarte pleaded for calm Wednesday, saying, “Peru cannot overflow with blood.” 

At least seven people have been killed in the protests, including a teenager who died Wednesday after being injured in the southeastern city of Andahuaylas, according to a hospital director.

Meanwhile, Castillo is being held in jail, possibly for at least 18 months, while authorities build a rebellion case against him. The judge in his case has postponed his hearing after he refused to participate.

Protesters have blocked streets in Peru’s capital and many rural communities, demanding Castillo be set free, that Boluarte resign, and that new general elections to pick a new president and replace all members of Congress be scheduled immediately.

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