Peru: President Refuses to Resign, Pope Calls for End to Violence

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Peru: President Refuses to Resign, Pope Calls for End to Violence

Peru's President Dina Boluarte urges Congress to move elections forward amid deadly protests.

President Dina Boluarte remains in charge of Peru as authorities assured Sunday that deadly protests since his predecessor's removal and arrest on December 7 are waning in intensity as Pope Francis called for an end to the violence.

The information we have confirms that the measures we have taken are working […]. The violence of people who demonstrated in the streets is decreasing, Prime Minister Pedro Angulo said on television on Sunday.

Economy Minister Alex Contreras had said earlier Sunday on Peruvian radio that the country was on track to ease the crisis unleashed after the impeachment of President Pedro Castillo.

What would my resignation solve? We are going to stay here, firm, until the Congress decides to move up the elections […]. I ask that we re-examine Friday's vote, when Parliament voted against moving the general elections from 2026 to 2023, Ms. Boluarte pleaded on Saturday.

In a televised message, Ms. Boluarte – Peru's vice-president until the dismissal of Pedro Castillo – deplored the protests which left at least 19 people dead and 569 injured, including minors.

< p class="e-p">Some deaths are linked to clashes with the military, authorized to intervene to maintain internal security as part of the establishment of the state of emergency for a period of 30 days.

It is only through calm and sincere and open dialogue that we can work […]. How can we fight among Peruvians, mess up our institutions, block the roads? Ms. Boluarte launched.

The president, from the same radical left party as Pedro Castillo, explained that if the armed forces took to the streets, it was to protect the citizens, because the situation was getting out of control. She denounced the presence of organized violent groups.

Pope Francis prayed on Sunday during his Angelus in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, for an end to the violence in the country and for us to take the path of dialogue in order to overcome the political and social crisis that is hitting us. the population.

Protesters demand the release of Pedro Castillo, the resignation of Ms. Boluarte, the dissolution of Parliament and immediate general elections.

The most intense protests have taken place in the poverty-stricken Andean region of southern Peru, where demands for social order have long gone unaddressed.

Ms. Boluarte, from Apurimac, one of the conflict zones, delivered part of her message in Quechua, a language spoken by a large proportion of the country's Andean population.

Protests erupted after Castillo tried to dissolve parliament on December 7 and rule by decree.

Former left-wing teacher from a rural and modest, he was arrested while trying to reach the Mexican Embassy to seek asylum.

Initially imprisoned for seven days, justice decided on Thursday that he would remain in prison for 18 months, until June 2024, in order to be charged with rebellion.

He faces a 10-year prison sentence, according to prosecutor Alcides Diaz, in charge of the case.

Some 200 tourists stranded in the famous Machu Picchu region due to protests were able to be evacuated on Saturday, AFP noted.

Aboard a train, they arrived near the town of Piscacucho, in the Cusco region , where a huge boulder blocked the way. From there, tourists – including North Americans and Europeans – walked about two kilometers to board buses to the city of Cusco, which has an international airport.

The mayor of the village near Machu Picchu, Darwin Baca, told AFP that 5,000 tourists were stranded in Cuzco. The city's airport reopened on Friday afternoon.

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