Peru’s President Dina Boluarte called for dialogue Thursday evening as clashes between protesters and police have left at least one person dead and 30 injured.
“Once again, I call for dialogue, I call on those political leaders to calm down. Have a more honest and objective look at the country; let’s talk,” Boluarte said during a televised press conference.
Thousands demanding her ouster have poured into Peru’s capital, Lima, to be met by a massive force of police firing tear gas.
Many of the protesters come from remote regions, where dozens have died in the unrest that rose up after former President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader from the rural Andes, was removed from office last month.
The protests have been marked by Peru’s worst political violence in more than two decades and highlighted deep divisions between the country’s urban elite, largely concentrated in Lima, and poor rural areas.
Castillo has been in detention and is expected to be tried for rebellion since he was impeached after a failed attempt to dissolve Congress.
At least 13 civilians and four police officers sustained injuries during protests on Thursday, according to Peru’s ombudsman.
Many Lima residents joined in Thursday’s protests, and anger at Boluarte—whom the demonstrators blame for the violence—was a common sentiment: “Out, Dina Boluarte,” “Dina murderer, Peru repudiates you,” and “New elections, let them all leave.”
The protests have grown to such a degree, however, that demonstrators are unlikely to be satisfied solely with Boluarte’s resignation and are now demanding more fundamental structural reform.
“This isn’t ending today, it won’t end tomorrow, but only once we achieve our goals,” 61-year-old David Lozada said on Thursday.
Boluarte spoke alongside key government officials Thursday night. She thanked police for controlling the “violent protests” and vowed to prosecute those responsible for violence. She has said she supports a plan to hold elections for President and for Congress in 2024, two years before originally scheduled.
And along with saying she wants to open a dialogue, Boluarte also criticized the protesters for “not having any kind of social agenda that the country needs” and accused them of “wanting to break the rule of law” and raised questions about their financing.