Lima braces for protests as death toll in Peru crisis surpasses 50

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Jan. 19 (UPI) — Protestors from across Peru are traveling to the capital city of Lima to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.

The head of Peru’s National Police in Lima, Victor Sanabria, told reporters that nearly 12,000 police officers were deployed in the capital. Key government buildings were reinforced in anticipation of further protests.

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Two protestors were killed on Wednesday in the southern region of Puno, as the death toll for six weeks of demonstrations surpasses 50.

Protestors took to the streets of the South American nation in December, demanding the reinstatement of former president Pedro Castillo, who was impeached in December after attempting to dissolve congress in the wake of previous impeachment attempts.

The Constitutional Court of Peru determined that Castillo’s attempt to dissolve congress was a coup attempt to interfere with a legitimate impeachment process.

Castillo attempted to flee the country but was detained before he could leave.

On Jan. 9, security forces killed 18 people in Puno region. Amnesty International has accused security forces of using “excessive force against protestors.”

Several members of President Boluarte’s cabinet have resigned in protest of her handling of the crisis, and Peru’s top prosecutor is conducting an inquiry into her role in the crackdown.

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While the demonstrations began in support of Castillo, the demands have evolved, with many protestors now calling for the resignation of Boluarte and fresh elections.