Peru declares 30-day state of emergency amid protests at president’s arrest

Measure suspends the right to gather and move freely across the entire country ahead of Christmas

Peru’s new government has declared a 30-day national state of emergency to quell violent demonstrations which have shaken the country following the ousting and arrest of President Pedro Castillo a week ago.

The measure announced on Wednesday suspends the right to gather and move freely across the entire country – and comes just before the Christmas holidays when people typically travel extensively to visit family.

“With this measure, we seek to guarantee order, the continuity of economic activities and the protection of millions of families,” Peru’s defence minister, Luis Otárola, tweeted after the decision was reached in a cabinet meeting. He added the government had not decided whether a curfew would be imposed.

“The national police with the support of the armed forces will ensure the control throughout the national territory of personal property and, above all, strategic infrastructure and the safety and wellbeing of all Peruvians,” he said.


The measure comes after a week of deadly unrest against Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, with protesters calling for the replacement of all lawmakers and the reinstatement of Castillo, who was forced out after he attempted to dissolve congress and rule by decree in an effort to avoid impeachment over corruption allegations.

“First of all, we do not recognise Dina Boluarte,” said Ronal Carrera (32) a construction worker who was wearing his hard hat and had travelled from Junín, in Peru’s central Andes, to demonstrate in the capital, Lima. “She is a coup leader, to this day our president is Pedro Castillo. Now we are demanding his reinstatement.”

At least seven people – five of them teenagers – were killed in clashes with police in the first week. All of them died from gunshot wounds amid accusations of police repression by Amnesty International and national human rights groups.

“Peru cannot overflow with blood,” Ms Boluarte said on Wednesday. “We have already lived through this experience in the 80s and 90s, and I believe that we do not want to return to that painful history.” She was referring to the country’s bloody internal conflict with Shining Path guerrillas in which nearly 70,000 Peruvians were killed.

Ms Boluarte added that general elections could be scheduled for December 2023. A previous announcement that elections would be brought forward by two years to April 2024 on Monday did nothing to placate the protests which paralysed roads and airports across the country amid widespread vandalism and looting, in which police stations, regional prosecutors’ and tax offices have been torched. – Guardian