Peru declares nationwide state of emergency as crisis worsens |  Politics news

Peru declares nationwide state of emergency as crisis worsens | Politics news

Peru declares nationwide state of emergency as crisis worsens |  Politics news

Former President Pedro Castillo is calling on supporters to go to prison where he is being held as prosecutors ask for an 18-month detention.

Peru has declared a national state of emergency, amid a week of protests and political upheaval following the removal and detention of former president Pedro Castillo.

Peruvian Defense Minister Alberto Otarola announced the new 30-day measure, which he said involves “the suspension of freedom of movement and assembly” and could include a curfew on Wednesday due to “vandalism and violence” , including roadblocks.

“The National Police with the support of the Armed Forces will ensure control throughout the national territory of personal property and, above all, of strategic infrastructures and the safety and well-being of all Peruvians,” said the minister.

The move came as a judge ordered Castillo to remain in jail on “rebellion” and “conspiracy” charges for an additional 48 hours before his release hearing.

Castillo’s supporters took to the streets across the South American nation to demand the leftist leader’s release, as well as new elections and the removal of his successor, former vice president Dina Boluarte.

The crisis began last week when Castillo, a former rural teacher and union leader who took office in July last year, announced plans to dissolve Peru’s Congress and rule by decree.

The move was widely denounced as unconstitutional and on Wednesday prompted the opposition-led legislature to vote overwhelmingly to remove him in the third impeachment attempt of his hard-fought presidential term.

Peruvian protests
Police arrive at a protest December 14 in Arequipa, Peru where supporters of ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo demonstrate against his detention [Fredy Salcedo/AP Photo]

Boluarte was sworn in soon after as Peru’s first female president, and Castillo was arrested and transferred to a police prison near the capital, Lima, where he is still being held.

Peruvian prosecutors this week said they were seeking 18 months of pretrial detention for Castillo, who denied the charges against him and said he was “unjustly and arbitrarily detained”.

Peru’s Supreme Court met on Wednesday to consider the prosecution’s request, but later suspended the session until Thursday.

Castillo called on supporters to come to the police facility where he is being held Wednesday afternoon, arguing he should be released after an initial seven-day period of pre-trial detention which expires later in the day.

He also urged the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to intercede on his behalf.

“Enough already! The outrage, humiliation and mistreatment continue. Today they limit my freedom again with 18 months of pre-trial detention,” he wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “I hold the judges and prosecutors accountable for this what’s happening in the country.”

Peru’s ombudsman office cut the death toll from the demonstrations to six on Tuesday. The protests have been particularly prominent in rural parts of the country, where Castillo’s political support is strongest.

outside the police prison where Pedro Castillo is being held in Peru
Police officers confront former President Pedro Castillo’s supporters gathering outside the Lima police prison where he is being held December 14, 2022 [Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters]

Boluarte, the new president, has tried to quell the unrest by promising to hold snap elections instead of finishing the remaining three-and-a-half years of Castillo’s term – a key demand from protesters last week.

On Wednesday, he again said the election could be brought forward, this time to December 2023. “Legally, it works for April 2024, but by making some changes we can bring it forward to December 2023,” he told reporters.

Boluarte also reiterated a call for calm in the streets. “We cannot have a dialogue if there is violence between us,” he said from the presidential palace.

But observers expressed concern about the deteriorating situation as the protests continued.

The head of Peru’s ombudsman’s office, Eliana Revollar, told AFP news agency on Tuesday that things could get even worse. “This is a very serious social convulsion,” Revollar said.

“We fear it will lead to an uprising because there are people who are calling for an insurrection, who are calling to take up arms.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *