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Lima turned into a massive exchange of pellets, tear gas, stones, sticks and paint on Tuesday. The Police suspected it and that is why they arranged 6,800 agents guarding the center of the capital, the main focus of the mobilizations. That is where the presidential palace, Congress, the seat of the judiciary and other institutions are located in which the Peruvian protesters no longer believe. From early morning, in addition, a group of tanks reinforced Abancay avenue, one of the main arteries of the city.
At noon, President Dina Boluarte had called for a “national truce” and had apologized to the relatives of the more than fifty people who had died since the protests broke out after Pedro Castillo’s failed self-coup on December 7. However, at the same time, Boluarte remarked that the protests are “incited by radical groups that have a political and economic agenda based on drug trafficking, illegal mining, and smuggling.” Her words collided with more protests. Under the slogan “University students from all over Peru, united”, various groups of students from public universities in the interior of the country gathered in Plaza Dos de Mayo at four in the afternoon together with the bases of the General Confederation of Workers of the Peru (CGTP) and reservists of the Armed Forces. After cheering each other by playing the panpipe and drum, the protest headed towards Congress. Throughout the afternoon and until nightfall there were clashes in the Puno, Lampa and Miroquesada shreds, in addition to Emancipation Avenue and San Martín Square.
Unlike previous days, this time the Police repressed the protesters more harshly. Proof of this are those wounded with pellets, who suffered injuries to their legs and even to their faces. The number of those affected cannot yet be specified. But among the injured are journalists (Ernesto Benavides from the AFP agency and Sebastián Castañeda from Reuters), protesters, minors, volunteer nurses and also police officers. “Here, there, the fear is over”, they said to themselves to encourage themselves. The block of university students settled in front of the Palace of Justice to launch their harangues.
But it didn’t take long for them to be evicted from the Paseo de los Héroes Navales by the toxic haze of tear gas. The police contingent gained ground and led them towards Parque Neptuno next to the Civic Center, a well-known shopping center. The clashes spread on Wilson Avenue in front of the International Clinic. In some part of the protest, hundreds of people were trapped in the Lampa shred, as the agents released toxic gases at both ends of the street, leaving them with no chance of escape. Another critical moment was when a tear gas canister got stuck in a building at the intersection of Lampa and Puno. There was despair because it could set the property on fire, as happened last Friday in an old house.
The morning began with a symbolic mobilization in the residential district of San Isidro, with delegations from the Aymara people of Puno and the Quechua people of Canchis, Cusco. After parading through some avenues, they held a sit-in outside the National Confederation of Private Business Institutions (CONFIEP). In the afternoon, President Dina Boluarte had given a press conference, where she launched an unfortunate phrase that further fueled the anger of the people: “Puno is not Peru.” But not only that. Throughout the day, a military contingent moved from the Moquegua region to Puno. Exactly up to the Laraqueri town center, in the Pichacani district. It is presumed that there are around 400 soldiers. It is feared, with good reason, that the repression will be more intense.
In the midst of this hectic day, where the government’s rope continues to tighten, the National Prosecutor’s Office opened a preliminary investigation against the Minister of the Interior, Vicente Romero, for being the alleged perpetrator of the crime of omission of functional acts to the detriment of the State, due to the police operation on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos that ended with the arrest of 193 people, who were not found any firearms.
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Until the latest report from the Ombudsman’s Office, on the day of the peak of the protests in the capital, there were roadblocks, strikes and mobilizations in 39 provinces, which is equivalent to 19.9% of all provinces nationwide. This Wednesday Boluarte will have to give explanations before the Permanent Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS).
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