Page/12 in Peru
This Saturday, the repression reached the interior of the universities. As in times of dictatorships, the police violently entered the National University of San Marcos in Lima, the oldest and largest in the country. He did it to stop those who from different regions, especially the Andes, have come to the capital to join the anti-government mobilizations of recent days in the so-called “taking of Lima.”
They had been staying at the place for three days. The students opened the doors of the university to them with the opposition of the rectorate. A tank knocked down a gate and a large police contingent entered violently. There were more than 200 detainees. Police officers armed with rifles also violently entered the university residence. Leftist congressmen came to the university to see the situation of the students and residents living there, but the police did not let them enter. They also prevented the entry of lawyers to assist the detainees.
This occurred when the crisis worsened, the protests in different regions continue and the repression on which the government of Dina Boluarte is based continues to kill. This Saturday a resident who had been shot on Friday died in Puno. There are already 46 confirmed deaths from police and military shots since the protests began in December, seven of them teenagers. There is also a dead policeman. The global death toll during the protests rises to 57 with deaths from causes related to roadblocks, such as not being able to reach a medical center. There are about a thousand wounded.
one death per day
The indignation over the repression has multiplied the protests that demand the resignation of Boluarte, the closure of the right-wing majority Congress, elections for this year, a referendum for a Constituent Assembly and sanctions for those guilty of so many deaths. Some sectors also demand Castillo’s freedom. The Boluarte government has the terrifying statistics of more than one death per day.
The Government says that it respects the right to protest, but criminalizes it and violently represses it. The police intervention at the University of San Marcos seeks to intimidate and demobilize the many residents who have come to Lima from different regions to protest in the capital, where on Thursday and Friday there were massive mobilizations that were repressed and left more than 60 detainees. This Saturday, for the third consecutive day, the protests took over the center of Lima. At the close of this note, it was passing peacefully.
Protesters have tried to take over airports and attacked police stations, public offices and some private companies. The repressive response by shooting to kill has been brutally excessive. The Executive, the majority of the right in Congress and the media, intend to generalize these violent actions to discredit the protests and justify the repression. Infiltrators have been denounced who provoke violence with the same intention.
In the Andes they fight
The protests started in the southern Andes by the dismissal of Castillo –seen by those populations as a president close to them, for reasons of social and ethnic identification rather than political– and by an explosion of weariness due to historical poverty and discrimination that suffer, have spread to almost the entire country in an outpouring of rage multiplied by the deaths. This response from the State expresses contempt against the Andean populations, victims of racism and the marginalization of the elites and now the epicenter of the largest protests. The indignation is also growing by an official speech that congratulates the security forces that shoot protesters and that accuses those who mobilize in the protests of being terrorists or of being paid to demonstrate. The voices demanding Boluarte’s resignation have not only not been extinguished by the brutal repression, but are increasing in quantity and intensity.
“Boluarte embodies the tyranny of ignorance. His behavior is extremely despotic and his level of knowledge of the country and politics is very low. His resignation is the minimum way out so that the situation can calm down. It is very difficult to specify how close that could be, but at any moment your government could collapse because it is very cracked by the deaths and by its cover-up reaction and defense of the performance of the armed forces and police, to which after so many deaths it has sacralized saying that they have had an ‘immaculate’ behavior, which reveals the lost mind of this lady. The protests these days in Lima, which despite their disorder and dispersion have been strong and very intense, have further weakened Boluarte. The field that supports it has begun to erode. Every day there is more violence and deaths. That is unsustainable. The protests will continue. When it became clear that the extremely abusive use of weapons corresponds to a pattern of behavior not only of the police and military, but also of the Government, the populations in the interior of the country have said that they will not surrender until Boluarte leaves,” he told Page/12 sociologist Carlos Reyna.
a soldier lurks
If Boluarte resigns, the president of Congress would replace her. The problem, and the risk, is that this position is held by a retired far-right general, José Williams, accused of human rights violations. This threatens to deepen the authoritarianism set in motion by Boluarte. For this reason, the popular demands also demand the resignation of Williams so that the board of directors of Congress can be recomposed and a figure who can generate a certain consensus, who is not part of the ultra-right, be chosen as Boluarte’s replacement. But the right-wing majority that controls Congress supports Williams. There is a consensus among analysts that only persistent popular pressure could push Congress back and force a change in Williams. The demonstrators assure that they would not accept an eventual presidency of General Williams and that if that happened, the protests would continue.
Sectors such as the Catholic Church have offered to mediate for a dialogue. But with its attacks — repressive and verbal — against the crowds, the government has closed that door. The extreme right applauds the repression against the popular sectors and calls for more. Business sectors see their opportunity to silence the claims for rights and say that the protests must be treated as “a war.”
Boluarte governs hand in hand with the extreme right and the military. They hold her. And she plays for her new allies. That right hopes to maintain and deepen the authoritarian government started by Boluarte by winning the next elections. They have great economic power, the support of the mainstream media and now the backing of the government and the repression.
Boluarte would prelude something worse
“A plan is being developed to install an authoritarian regime, so that the right can win the next elections. Boluarte is a pawn of that right, which is hegemonized by a hallucinated extreme right, who says that everything is terrorism. One of the legislators of that ultra-right has proposed a Bill to authorize shooting at protesters with the only requirement that there be more protesters than members of the security forces. That’s crazy, but that’s the kind of leadership that the Peruvian extreme right has. If they win the elections, they will govern with that logic”, warns the sociologist Reyna.
As “a milestone of citizen dignity” and one of the largest in memory, Reyna describes the popular protests that are shaking the country. She indicates that in Lima they have been harshly repressed with tear gas and pellets, but in the provinces the repression has been with shots from rifles and pistols. “This very clear difference in repression is a terrible, aberrational form of discrimination, according to which the provincials, especially those from the Andean areas, can be shot and killed without problem, but not in Lima. I am completely sure that this way of reasoning explains why there are no deaths in Lima”.