Peru: 18 Killed During Protests
Peru has been immersed in a prolonged political crisis in recent years, which escalated with the announcement made by then President Castillo of the dissolution of the Congress of the Republic on 7 December 2022.
The Constitutional Court and the Congress rejected this decision, and Castillo was arrested that same day. The Vice President, Dina Boluarte, was quickly sworn in as President, and local authorities formally recognized her as the new President.
These events unleashed a major wave of protests in different regions of the country, which were repressed by the Peruvian armed forces and police. In the first days of the protests, dozens of people were injured and at least two people died. In addition, local journalists reported being assaulted and stripped of their equipment by the National Police.
By December 16, two days after the Peruvian State declared a state of emergency in the face of the political crisis, the number of people killed had risen to 17.
During the Christmas holidays, the protests subsided briefly, but with the beginning of the new year, thousands of people have once again taken to the streets in Peru and state repression has become more acute.
On 9 January at least 18 people died, and dozens were injured during protests in the city of Juliaca.
From the beginning of the protests to date, official sources have reported the deaths of at least 40 people in the regions of Puno, Ayacucho, Apurimac, Cusco, Junin, La Libertad and Arequipa. It should be noted that most of the victims belong to rural and historically marginalized communities in Peru.
Amnesty International has expressed concern about the excessive use of force used against protesters and made calls to ensure access to justice and remedies for victims. On 12 December, it issued a first press release condemning the deaths of two people. An urgent action was issued the following day calling for an immediate cease of violence against protesters. On 16 December, it issued a second press release calling for accountability for the deaths of at least 17 people. Finally, on 10 January, a third press release was issued following the events in Juliaca.
Amnesty International reminds the authorities that a protest does not lose its peaceful character because of sporadic acts or unlawful behaviour by individuals. Therefore, the respect, guarantee and protection of the human rights of those who demonstrate peacefully must not be diminished. State security forces should also prioritize the peaceful resolution of the situation and avoid using force in ways that contravene international standards.