AI concerned by deaths of protesters in Peru

Lima (BLAZETRENDS).- Amnesty International (AI) assured this Thursday that the death of 49 protesters in clashes with the forces of order in Peru during the anti-government protests shows that there was a “deliberate and coordinated state response”, which, in addition, was “ordered or tolerated by high officials.”

“Far from isolated incidents attributed to rogue agents acting on their own, the number of deaths on multiple dates and different locations suggests a deliberate and coordinated state response. Peruvian authorities must investigate the possibility that senior officials ordered or at least tolerated these killings, no matter how high up the chain of command they go,” AI Secretary General Agnès Callamard said.

An orderly strategy throughout Peru

This was stated during the presentation of a report, called “Lethal racism: Extrajudicial executions and illegitimate use of force by the security forces of Peru”, which analyzes 52 cases of people killed or injured during the protests that took place since December.

“The similarities in the use of force against protesters in different parts of the country indicate a possible strategy ordered or tolerated by senior officials,” the organization said.

In addition, it warned that, “instead of condemning the excessive use of force, the high authorities of Peru encouraged it by publicly praising the actions of the security forces, while stigmatizing the people who demonstrated as ‘terrorists’ and intentionally spreading misinformation.”

In this regard, Callamard said that the government made efforts to present the protesters as terrorists or criminals, but stressed that the deceased were protesters, observers, and bystanders, and that almost all of them belonged to “poor, indigenous, and peasant backgrounds, which suggests racial and socioeconomic bias in the use of deadly force.”

“The use of lethal firearms against protesters shows a flagrant disregard for human life,” he said.

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Demands to investigate “high-level” managers

On the other hand, Amnesty International also called on the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office to “investigate all persons, up to the highest level, who have ordered or tolerated the unlawful use of lethal force by the security forces” which resulted in these deaths.

The report analyzes 52 cases of people killed or injured during protests in various parts of the south of the country (Andahuaylas, Chincheros, Ayacucho and Juliaca) and concludes that, of these, there are 25 deaths, of which 20 “may constitute extrajudicial executions committed by state forces.

He argued that law enforcement officials fired live ammunition at highly vulnerable areas of the body (the head, neck, chest, and abdomen), and that there is also additional evidence, such as videos, images, criminal records, and witness statements. , which indicate an unjustified use of force.

“The security forces not only made excessive use of force, but the evidence suggests that, in addition, certain high command would have been criminally complicit in concealing the weapons used to commit homicides,” said the report after indicating that in records Police and military reports to which Amnesty had access “did not provide details of the ammunition used or which personnel fired specific weapons.”

It includes the example that on January 9, in the southern city of Juliaca, where the bloodiest day of the marches took place, “only two agents from the Directorate of Special Operations reported that they had fired four 7.62 caliber ammunition with their AKM rifles”, but at least 15 people were killed by lethal ammunition and dozens more were injured by firearms.

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