PerHuman rights organisations have warned that Peru police used excessive force against protesters as two people were confirmed dead.
Police used firearms and tear gas against protesters, according to Amnesty International. It also reported evidence that police injured protesters by beating them.
On 14 November, two protesters died of gunshot wounds.
Marina Navarro, executive director of Amnesty International Peru, said:
This political crisis is generating a human rights crisis due to the violent repression of the protests. The authorities must prioritize the protection of the population over any political interest.
A controversial impeachment
The protests began after Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra was impeached on 9 November. 105 congress members voted to remove Vizcarra, accusing him of bribery and handling coronavirus (Covid-19) in Peru poorly. Several political commentators and scholars have called the impeachment a coup.
An open letter signed by academics from all over the world said:
The Peruvian constitution grants the people, not the Congress, the right to elect the president. Congress can only remove a president in cases when certain specific conditions apply. Rumours, accusations, and ongoing judicial investigations are not included among those conditions. Thus, Congress has unlawfully removed president Vizcarra, in what is in effect a parliamentary coup and not an impeachment.
‘Abusive use of force’
URGENTE 🚨 #ALERTA #PERÚ 🚨 Camarógrafo de @canalN_, Alonso Balbuena de @Ojo_Publico y Ernesto Benavides de la agencia @AFPespanol son heridos durante protestas. La policía dispara directo a periodistas y manifestantes. (Foto: @Meleyza1) pic.twitter.com/j7nF9yRKCN
— IPYS (@IPYS) November 13, 2020
Two protesters were killed in the clashes at the weekend. Jordan Sotelo was shot four times. Jack Pintado was shot eleven times.
Walter Gutiérrez, human rights ombudsman for Peru, said:
There was irrational, abusive use of force in Lima. I demand that the president of the republic shows his face and gives explanations to the country
As a result of widespread outrage, president Merino announced his resignation on 15 November after only five days in office.
There have been warnings that the growing political instability in Peru may harm attempts to control the spread of coronavirus.
Peru currently has the third highest coronavirus death rate per hundred thousand people in the world.
It is unclear who will serve as president after Merino’s resignation. Peru is due to hold national elections in 2021, at which both congress and the presidency will be contested. Notable candidates include former footballer George Forsyth, and César Acuña, head of the Alliance for Progress party that tried to impeach Vicarraz in September.
Featured image via Flickr/Ennoti
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?