Peruvian police repress protests, leave over 20 injured in Juliaca

Tens of thousands of Peruvians continue to hit the streets, demanding radical political changes despite heavy repression as pro-democracy protests complete two months

February 10, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
On February 9, tens of thousands of Peruvians took to the streets across the country demanding the resignation of de-facto President Dina Boluarte and her murderous regime. (Photo: Wilson Chilo/Wayka)

On Thursday, February 9, tens of thousands of Peruvians took to the streets across the country in another national strike, demanding the resignation of de-facto President Dina Boluarte, closure of the right-wing dominated Congress, new general elections this year, and a referendum on a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.

Indigenous and peasants communities, social organizations, students associations, and diverse sector trade unions held peaceful mobilizations in different regions of the country to demand an end to the political crisis that has gripped the country since the legislative coup against democratically elected President Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022.

In the capital Lima, thousands of people demonstrated near the Congress, expressing their dissatisfaction with its decision to reject bills that called for elections to be held in 2023 accompanied by a referendum. In the evening, hundreds gathered at the San Martín Plaza to pay homage to the victims of state repression.

In Juliaca city, in the Peru’s Puno region, thousands hit the streets to mark one month since the massacre of 19 protesters at the hands of public security forces. Family members and loved ones of the victims organized a march, chanting slogans such as “Spilled blood will never be forgotten,” “Dina, Juliaca repudiates you! All of Peru repudiates you!”

On January 9, police and military officers opened fire on thousands of protesters who had occupied the Juliaca airport as a part of nationwide anti-government protest, killing 19 protesters and leaving over 60 others severely injured. On Thursday, a group of protesters once again tried to occupy the local airport to demand justice for the fallen protesters. The police agents also once again violently repressed them with tear gas and metal pellets, leaving at least 23 injured, including a minor who received a gunshot wound to one of his legs.

Progressive leader and former presidential candidate, Verónika Mendoza, lamented the continuation of repression. “Exactly one month ago a painful massacre occurred in Juliaca: 19 Peruvians were killed. Today again 23 people have been injured, including an 11-year-old minor. Today they are in our hearts and we will not stop demanding justice for them,” tweeted Mendoza.

Massive marches and rallies were also held in Apurímac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Iquitos, Lambayeque, Loreto, Madre de Dios and Piura, among other regions. Additionally, at least 62 roads and highways remained blocked throughout the national territory. Incident of brutal repression was recorded in Chalhuanca town in Apurímac, where police shot against protesters with live bullets. According to reports from local media, around 80 people were arrested and several were injured.

In this regard, Mendoza called on Boluarte to stop the repression. “Police are shooting in the streets of Challhuanca, Apurímac. Mrs. Dina Boluarte, this is happening in your land, they are shooting at you countrymen! Stop this shooting!”

The mobilizations were carried out as a part of the national strike called by the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) to mark two months of the social uprising as well as to reject the violent repression unleashed against the peaceful protests.

For the past two months, since December 7, 2022, hundreds of thousands of people, mainly from the long-neglected and marginalized countryside of Peru, have been mobilizing in different parts of the country to demand radical political changes. According to reports from human rights organizations, in the past 60 days of protests, more than 60 people were killed and over 1000 were injured.