January 17, 2023, 4:00 AM
January 17, 2023, 4:00 AM
“We are going to be in the capital to make our voice of protest heard,” promises an Andean peasant who is preparing with hundreds to go from Puno to Lima to demand the resignation of the president, Dina Boluarte, after five weeks of protests that left 42 dead.
“We are going to make our voice of protest heard,” Jimmy Mamani, president of the Association of Population Centers of El Collao province, an Aymara area in the Puno region, bordering Bolivia, told AFP.
Mamani, mayor of the town of San Isidro, is one of the hundreds of peasants who will travel the 1,350 km that separate their community from Lima starting Monday.
“We are going to enter through the four cones of Lima (North, South, East, West.) We want to have a peaceful mobilization without problems”, he added.
“It will be like the march of the four of them,” he explains, referring to the massive three-day march that in July 2000 led to the fall of the autocratic regime of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) in November of that year.
“It is not fair that the Executive cannot listen to our requests, they turn a deaf ear. The truth is one is already upset and at this point talking with them is something that cannot be done”, explains the leader.
Protesters call for Boluarte’s resignation, immediate elections and call a Constituent Assembly. The Government has already rejected all these requests.
At least 3,000 residents from the city of Andahuaylas (southeast), in the Apurímac region, who were heading to Lima this Monday in a caravan of vehicles were detained by the Police in the district of Humay in the province of Pisco (about 240 km south of Lima) to carry out identification checks.
“We are from Andahuaylas, we are starting this trip to the city of Lima. The march is peaceful, we are not violent, we are humble farmers,” a peasant who wore a chullo (cap with ear flaps) on his head told the press.
From Cuzcodozens of peasants in buses left for the capital, 1,100 km away.
The Government extended the state of emergency for 30 days in Lima, Cusco, Callao and Puno to stop the protests, authorizing the military to intervene together with the Police to maintain public order.
It also extended the curfew for 10 days from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. in Puno, the epicenter of the protests.
Roadblocks continue to set the pace for the protests. As of Monday, 96 sections of roads remained blocked by protesters in 9 of the 25 regions.
In the La Libertad region (north) for the first time this year, residents blocked the northern Pan-American highway, which connects Lima with that end of the country, with burned tires.
in punodozens of Aymara residents blocked the Ilave international bridge that serves as transit to Bolivia.
“We are going to march to Lima so that they become aware, so that the people are aware and that once and for all we can shake off this capture of the economic power of the State, of this small group that does not represent us, we do not recognize the President Dina or Congress,” Richard Acero, 52, a resident of Ilave, told AFP.
The Government on its side has assured since the weekend that they will avoid what they describe as a “riot” over Lima, but at the same time it has stressed that it respects the right to protest and peaceful demonstrations, something prohibited while the state is in force. of emergency.
“We have information that citizens from the interior of the country are being transferred,” said Defense Minister Jorge Chávez, who warned that the government will do what is necessary to “avoid a situation of violence.”
“I call for peace: that these demonstrations are carried out peacefully and do not generate acts of violence”, he added.
The protests have left at least 42 dead, more than 500 injured and some 300 arrested in five weeks, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.