Peruvian President Dina Boluarte returned yesterday Friday to apologize to Parliament for those killed in demonstrations calling for her resignation in recent months, while a few blocks away the police threw tear gas canisters at protesters who shouted “Dina, a murderer, the people repudiate you!” !”.
“I apologize, on behalf of the State, to the relatives of all the deceased, civilians, police and military, and also to the wounded,” Boluarte said during his speech for the national day and promised, together with the rest of the officials, to cooperate with the prosecution. “There will be no impunity for anyone in this case,” he said.
Until now, the Peruvian prosecutor’s office has not arrested or pointed out any member of the security forces or government official as directly or indirectly responsible for any of the 67 deceased who died between December and February in the midst of the demonstrations. Only on Tuesday did the prosecutor’s office announce that it had asked a judge to be able to access confidential information on the actions of the military and police.
According to autopsies reviewed by The Associated Press, at least 30 of the 49 civilians were killed by gunfire while protesting, clashing with police or walking near the crash zone. The United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights agree that the soldiers used excessive force and human rights violations were committed.
“I would tell that genocidal lady to resign once and for all,” Dominga Hancco, mother of Nataly Aroquipa, a 17-year-old psychology student who died after being shot in the stomach in January during demonstrations in Juliaca, told The Associated Press. . “My daughter was murdered seven months ago and we didn’t find justice, we searched, we shouted, we went out to protest and they don’t listen to us,” she added.
Mrs. Hancco was dressed in mourning and carried in her hands a black and white portrait of her daughter, who was studying at the University of Aquino, in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, and returned at the beginning of the year to visit her parents in Juliaca and help his friends with whom he rescued animals from the street.
The mother of the murdered university student, like the relatives of others killed in demonstrations, had arrived in Lima a few days ago to show their protest. “We are not going to silence our voice until we get justice, which will come sooner or later,” she said.
Protesters clashed with police a few blocks from the Parliament building where the president read her speech. Those who were in front of the police wall used sticks that were neutralized by police shields and dozens of tear gas canisters. At least one police officer was also observed kicking a female protester.
Eugenia, a 33-year-old artist, who did not give her last name for fear of the police, carried a gigantic head made of cardboard and paper of an old peasant woman with long braids and a melancholy look, surrounded by a Peruvian flag along with dozens of small portraits. of the deceased.
“She is the grandmother of all Peruvians, especially those who have been murdered,” he said.
Boluarte affirmed that he led a government committed to respecting human rights and proposed signing a reconciliation pact with those demanding his resignation, without going into details. But, at the same time, he pointed out that the protests had sought to “replace our democracy with a dictatorship.”
He also reiterated that he will remain in office until 2026, after he promised to advance the elections at the end of December and thus appease the protests. At another time, he indicated that his priority was to fight crime and proposed modifying the laws to expel foreigners from the country in case of flagrante delicto.
The president’s speech followed the request for justice for those killed in the demonstrations made by the Archbishop of Lima, Carlos Castillo, in a traditional mass in the cathedral of Lima.
The archbishop asked Boluarte, officials and legislators to put themselves in the situation of the victims and analyze “our mistakes and the serious evils we have incurred, including the deaths that await justice and reparation.”
Boluarte took office on December 7, hours after Congress removed then-President Pedro Castillo, who tried unsuccessfully to dissolve Parliament and is now facing an investigation in prison for rebellion and corruption.
“Peru is a people harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd that feels the weight of darkness and confusion,” said the archbishop. “Let us appreciate the creative initiative of our people instead of despising it, as often happens between social, political and economic, and also cultural and even ecclesial leaders,” he added.
Both Boluarte and the congressmen register high levels of rejection, according to various surveys. The president has 81.6% disapproval, while Parliament has 90% unpopularity, according to the most recent poll by the firm Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP), carried out between July 15 and 19 among 1,206 Peruvians, with a margin of error of 2.8.
The same IEP survey indicated that 80% prefer early elections, while 15% believe that Boluarte remains in power. 58% feel identified with the anti-government protests, while 33% do not feel identified with the demonstrations.