Demonstrators gathered Sunday in Lima to express their rejection of President Dina Boluarte's staying in office barely over a month after taking over from the deposed Pedro Castillo Terrones who is held in pre-trial detention.
The protesters insisted on demanding fresh elections and were not deterred by the over 40 deaths resulting from clashes with law enforcement officials in the past few weeks.
At least 3,000 Andahuaylas residents were getting Sunday afternoon to travel in vehicles and trucks to the Peruvian capital to continue their protest against Boluarte during the week, while dozens of demonstrators left from the central San Martin square to the tourist district of Miraflores in Lima.
Boluarte's government extended the state of emergency for 30 days in Lima, Cusco, Callao, and Puno to stop the protests. It authorized the military to intervene together with the police to protect public order.
On Sunday, 99 stretches of roads remained blocked by protesters in 10 of Peru's 25 regions demanding Boluarte's resignation. Among the regions with blocked roads were Puno, Arequipa, and Cusco, it was reported, as the number of roadblocks nationwide keeps increasing.
In Arequipa, dozens of residents blocked the Panamericana Sur highway that reaches the region of Tacna, bordering Chile. In Cusco, train service to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu resumed on Sunday after two days' stoppage due to protests.
Demonstrators also attended a mass in Spanish and Quechua (the native language of the Peruvian Andes) on Sunday at Lima's cathedral to mourn those who died during the protests. We want to dedicate this mass to our deceased by human hand in these days. All of them are our deceased, there is no foreign dead. We are all Peruvians, Lima Archbishop Carlos Castillo said.
Boluarte apologized on Friday for the deaths caused by the crisis and urged Congress to speed up procedures to hold early elections in April 2024. According to a poll published on Sunday by Ipsos, Boluarte has a 71% disapproval rating.
Territorial Governance Deputy Minister José Muro pointed out that the government intends to open dialogue channels this week articulating efforts with regional and local governments.
Meanwhile, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found Peruvians were not listening to each other and asked to investigate the use of force in the protests. The IACHR visiting Peru last week headed by Guatemalan lawyer Stuardo Ralón also demanded an urgent investigation into the Armed Forces making excessive use of force and suggested that the possible presence of extremists in the promotion of protests also needed to be tracked.
The IACHR also pointed out that the Peruvian political crisis was influenced by the historical postponement of various peoples, such as indigenous peoples, Afro-Peruvians, and the inhabitants of the provinces.
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