Supporters of deposed President Pedro Castillo Terrones have seized the airport at the Peruvian town of Arequipa in a move to demand the resignation of Vice President Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in as the new head of state following the Peru Libre leader's impeachment after he announced he was dissolving Parliament.
Armed with stones, sticks, and burning tires, hundreds of demonstrators blocked the air terminal Monday, despite Boluarte's announcement that she would call for early elections in April of 2024, instead of 2026. Arequipa is Peru's second-largest city. The airport runway has been blocked with stones, sticks, and tires, according to AFP. The runway lighting was destroyed and the airport was closed. Police used teargas to disperse the crowds.
The protesters insisted on Castillo's release from the Bbarbadillo detention facility where he is currently housed pending trial, while uprisings were recorded at several points nationwide. Access roads Arequipa, Trujillo, and Cusco remained blocked Monday afternoon, it was reported.
Boluarte said Monday morning that she would try to reach an agreement with Congress to bring forward the elections and declared a state of emergency in the areas where violent protests were taking place. Mobilizations have been widespread since Sunday in several northern and southern Andean cities.
In Andahuaylas, two people were reported dead and about twenty others were injured, including a law enforcement officer after clashes with demonstrators who tried to storm the city's airport.
Thousands took to the streets during the weekend at Cajamarca, Arequipa, Tacna, Andahuaylas, Huancayo, Cusco, and Puno, chanting Castillo you are not alone, the people are behind you!, and with banners reading Dina and Congress the same filth or Corrupt rats while peasant and indigenous organizations call for an indefinite strike starting Tuesday.
They also want Congress closed and a new Constitution drafted, which is what Castillo had announced during his short-lived spell as de facto president. Meanwhile, the one-house Legislature Monday passed a bill providing for a speedier trial against the indigenist leader.