Caracas, January 19, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—This Wednesday, for the second edition of the historic “March of the Four of Them” that, in 2000, with an unprecedented popular mobilization, demanded the departure of Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, thousands of demonstrators continued to arrive in Lima, the capital of the country, to demand the resignation of Dina Boluarte, de facto head of state after the overthrow of President Pedro Castillo.
Impressive images show the mobilization from the south of the country to the capital on the Pacific coast. The march occurs in the face of militarization country, marked by the attempt of security forces to create a perimeter around Lima, an action that has been denounced by the demonstrators joined by trade unions, campesinos, and social movements.
In just six weeks—two of them relatively calm due to a Christmas truce—more than 50 Peruvians have been killed by police and military forces, most of them murdered with live ammunition. Almost 30 of these lives were lost in massacres carried out by the coup regime in Ayacucho and Juliaca.
It is worth noting that the appointment of Boluarte, who was vice president of Pedro Castillo, as interim head of state, is being condemned by protesters as a stratagem perpetrated by the right-wing Fujimorismo that dominates Congress, widely repudiated by the majority of Peruvians who elected Castillo in 2021 as the first president not belonging to the power elites.
Impactante… desde Puno parten hacia Lima, son despedidos por multitudes, no saben si volverán, pero sí que van a luchar por el futuro de todos, van a luchar contra un gobierno de facto que masacró 18 de sus hijos… ¡Viva Perú! pic.twitter.com/Tz8J8gXNCM
— DΛViD.cu (@Dvd_qva) January 18, 2023
Castillo was deposed by the same Congress that appointed Boluarte, after torpedoing his administration even before he took office. During Castillo’s 18 months in office, Congress moved to vacate his presidency four times, with the final attempt occurring on December 7, the day President Castillo was overthrown and imprisoned.
Castillo’s arrest is classified as illegal and his ousting was labeled by several governments in Latin America as a coup. The Peruvian Judiciary has agreed to review a request for habeas corpus for Castillo, who has been imprisoned for 18 months without trial for alleged sedition.
National strike until Boluarte steps down
The General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP) organized a general strike starting Thursday, January 19. It has called for mobilizations every Thursday until Boluarte resigns.
La CGTP convoca a la clase trabajadora y el pueblo peruano a participar activamente en el Gran Paro Nacional, Cívico y Popular del 19 de enero de 2023, exigiendo la renuncia de Dina Boluarte y la Mesa Directiva del Congreso. #DinaRenuncia #ParoNacional #Peru pic.twitter.com/SPHn2vUmen
— CGTP PERU (@cgt_peru) January 15, 2023
Intimidation from the government
CGTP stated that on Monday, the Police arrived at the headquarters of the telephone workers union, where the National Assembly of the Peoples (ANP) had been convened, and “intimidated those attending the assembly, and imprisoned the leader, Teresa Yamile Natividad Villegas Montoya, for an indictment in Cajamarca, a place he does not know.”
They also repudiated the arrest, last weekend, of Henry Mena, general secretary of the CGTP San Martín, alongside 14 leaders in a protest against the de facto government. Subsequently, it was announced that Mena was released.
Andahuaylas is already in Lima
The mobilization to Lima brought thousands of protesters from Andahuaylas, a city about 700 kilometers away from the capital, who complained of being intimidated before arriving in the capital. The buses that transported them were requisitioned by the police and the military, but they finally passed the militarized checkpoints after showing that they did not bring weapons to cause violence.
Security forces attempted to prevent the arrival of demonstrators at the historic “March of the Four of Them.” Another tactic used was the demand for drivers and occupants of the buses provide documentation before passing military checkpoints.
— Ale Loucau (@ale_loucau) January 18, 2023
A significant number of those mobilized are concentrated at the University of San Marcos, the oldest on the continent, where the students offered shelter to those arriving in the capital, while the university authorities, it transpired, are requesting the eviction of the protesters.
Resignation of Boluarte, early elections, new Constitution, and dissolution of Congress
Everardo Cadillo, general secretary in Lima of the national union organization, stated that the union also demands the closure of Congress and immediate elections, the Peruvian press reported on Wednesday.
Cadillo stated that the national assembly of delegates of the CGTP, held on Saturday the 14th, with the agreement of the board of directors, approved the national strike as a measure to demand the resignation of Dina Boluarte and the closure of Congress, which, they say, must be changed and its new members elected by consensus. He is also part of the protest demanding a consultation with the population, during the elections that must be held as soon as possible, on the possibility of rewriting the Constitution (one of the central promises of Castillo’s campaign). Meanwhile, grassroots movements continue to demand the immediate release of President Castillo.
Support in Lima for the “March of the Four of Them”
“The national assembly of delegates (from the General Confederation of Workers of Peru) agreed to hold vigils to collect resources to support brothers from the south or any compañero who comes to Lima, because they are coming in large numbers and every Thursday of each week we will mobilize,” explained Cadillo in an interview with the Regional Communication Network (RCR) of Peru.
“When Dina Boluarte convened the CGTP, we went to the Government Palace to tell her that she should evaluate her resignation [and] call new elections as soon as possible, so that in these elections the population can be asked if they want a new Constitution,” he added. “We told her face to face. She told us that she was going to think about it.”
More deaths in Puno
A second protester who was seriously injured after being shot with live ammunition on Wednesday during the protests in Macusani, in the Puno region, in southern Peru, died this Thursday, reported the Ombudsperson’s Office, according to AFP.
“After serious injuries, Salomón Valenzuela died this morning (Thursday, January 19) after not surviving an operation at the Macusani hospital,” a source from the Ombudsperson’s Office told AFP. His death marks the second fatality of the police repression against a road block in Macusani , capital of the province of the same name in the department of Puno, in the southeast of Peru.
Demonstrators received with more repression
More demonstrators arrived in Lima on Thursday and were met with armored vehicles deployed by the de facto authorities all over the Peruvian capital. Kawsachun News reported in a tweet: “Peru’s coup regime has deployed armored vehicles against protesters in Lima.”
Peru's coup regime has deployed armoured vehicles against protesters in Lima. pic.twitter.com/ZymfaACZXe
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) January 20, 2023
During the night hours of Thursday, Wayka Peru also reported, on its social media accounts, how the police repression was launched against ordinary Peruvians tired of being neglected by the elite of Lima and the oligarchy. Wayka posted several photos showing demonstrators being subjected to extreme violence.
— 🇵🇪 Wayka📢 (@WaykaPeru) January 20, 2023
A few minutes later, Kawsachun News posted a video showing protesters still marching in the streets of Lima despite police repression. “Despite repression, anti-coup protesters in Lima, Peru, continue in the streets calling for the fall of the regime,” the Bolivian news outlet wrote.
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) January 20, 2023
Almost simultaneously, Telesur journalist Nacho Lemus reported a fire in a building near Plaza San Martín in Lima. He explained that protesters claimed the demonstration had been sabotaged. Other posts on social media platforms refer to the fire as an incident replicating the tactics used against protesters by Vladimiro Montesinos and Alberto Fujimori.
Se incendia un edificio en la Pza. San Martín, centro de Lima. Los manifestantes denuncian “sabotaje” contra la #MarchaDeLos4Suyos que tomó la capital de Perú para exigir la salida de Dina Boluarte, la libertad de Pedro Castillo y una constituyente.@JaimeHerreraCaj | @teleSURtv pic.twitter.com/iWt9Nl6cNj
— Nacho Lemus (@LemusteleSUR) January 20, 2023
Many were expecting a televised address by Dina Boluarte and the Peruvian de facto authorities, hoping for Boluarte’s resignation but analysts remain doubtful.
— Lisa Kenna (@USAmbPeru) January 19, 2023
In a very suspicious move, the US embassy in Peru published, on Thursday night, a statement calling on the Peruvian de facto government to respect human rights and the right to protest. Many analysts are skeptical of this type of statement issuing from the US embassy, and some believe this may be an indication of a new US strategy.
Dina Boluarte says mass protests in Peru have 'no social agenda that the country needs' and accuses marchers, who've taken to the streets day after day, of receiving financing for their protest. pic.twitter.com/oaMSUEoifv
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) January 20, 2023
Dina Boluarte, at the end of the night, did present a televised address, with the arrogant and supremacist tone she has been using for several weeks, accusing protesters of being “financed” to take the streets. Once again, Boluarte refused to perceive reality: that ordinary Peruvians are fed up with a political system that is anything but democratic.
Additionally, Boluarte dared to say that the agenda of the protesters is not the social agenda that Peru needs, and that the situation in Lima was “under control.” Not surprisingly, many Peruvians have begun referring to Boluarte as “Balearte,” which means “someone shouting at you” in Spanish.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/February 2, 2023