By Julieta Díaz Lozano – July 25, 2023
More than 100,000 people mobilized throughout Peru calling for the resignation of coup leader Dina Boluarte during the third takeover of Lima. Again there were arrests and injuries.
In spite of widespread police repression and a campaign of fear of several weeks, tens of thousands of people participated in the third takeover of Lima on July 19. The principal demands were the resignation of coup president Boluarte and the entire Congress, and the call for a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution of the country. Regarding imprisoned President Pedro Castillo, a significant sector of the participating organizations demanded his reinstatement, while other sectors demanded immediate elections.
The state repression against protestors included police barriers in public buildings, hydrant cars, motorcycle patrols, and the presence of tanks to intimidate the people. At the end of the march, when the demonstrators tried to reach the Congress, the police repressed them with tear gas. At least six people were seriously injured, while several were arrested.
Among the organizations present were the Central Única Nacional de Rondas Campesinas del Perú (CUNARC, the organization to which Castillo belongs), the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGP), teachers, Quechua and Aymara indigenous movements, various human rights and gender justice collectives, as well as a massive block of artists who added color, music and dance to the mobilization.
In addition to the takeover of Lima, similar mobilizations were held in 53 other cities of the country that also sent their delegations to the activity in the capital, and seven national highways throughout the country were blocked during the day. The march in Lima started from different important squares of the city, which united into a single column that went past government buildings and ended in San Martín Square in central Lima.
Among the delegations from the regions that traveled to Lima were the Central Unica de Rondas Campesinas of Huancamba, Piura region. Its president, Jesús Raúl Meléndez de Guayama, explained that, to the general demands of the takeover, they added a historical struggle of the people of Huancamba against predatory mining. “We have been fighting for 20 years, during which we were persecuted and repressed for opposing the Río Blanco mining project,” the farmer leader expained. “The usurper president, Dina Boluarte, wants to give the green light to the mining concessions, she wants to renew them, despite the fact that they do not have any social support. That is why we have come from there to support our Peruvian people and to demand that this government resign, that this corrupt Congress be closed, and that a referendum be held for a new constitution.”
Nicolás Aguilar Ibarra, a member of the Lima-based Emancipador Group and a long-time trade union leader, described the mobilization as a moment to accumulate forces to demand Boluarte’s dismissal. “The coup d’état was carried out from the US Embassy, so the struggle is not only for the restitution of Castillo, but for a change of this neoliberal system that is imposed from the north, and because of which only 5% of the economically active population has a registered job and can organize,” he stated. According to him, the demand for a Constituent Assembly could also be a unifying process to change the neoliberal character of Peru.
In Plaza 2 de Mayo, the campaign platform “No more deaths for protesting” took out a march with crosses and coffins mentioning the names of the more than 60 people who died in police repression during last summer’s protests. Abel Gilbonio, spokesperson for the campaign, explained that the organization also brings together a group of environmental defenders who have complained of murders by police prior to the protests against Boluarte, in territorial conflicts. “It is a nationwide demand, mainly coming from the south of the country but also in Lima that brings together collectives, environmental defenders, human rights organizations, etc. that are raising this slogan to stop the indiscriminate use, the criminal use of police force against the legitimate right of citizen protest,” he said.
He added that the campaign tries to confront people’s fear to mobilize. “Years ago we went out to protest and well, we knew there could be confrontation, but now people are afraid, because they are afraid of being criminalized, of being accused of being terrorists, or the worse, of being killed,” he explained.
Regarding the relationship between extractivist projects and the coup d’état, Abel highlighted that “there is a whole impulse after December 7 to implement a number of mining projects in the country. The environmental defenders who have constantly suffered repression, criminalization and assassination in the country’s mining territories are precisely from the territories that are the most attractive for lithium and copper mining, minerals that are needed by other countries, and Peru is rich in them. We know that there is a whole process from the Ministry of Energy and Mines to speed up mining projects at the expense of the right to territory, the right to the environment, the right to health of the communities and indigenous peoples.”
The collective Retablos por la memoria carried out a march with a huge banner with the slogan “No woman with Dina” on one side, and beautifully painted faces of women fighters against the current dictatorship on the other side. The organization also gave out 100 illustrated posters, with space for demonstrators to place their demands and take them to the march. Isabel, one of the members of this collective of women artists, explained that the group had the idea of using the small square format of the retablo, typical of the Ayacucho region, as a novel way to creatively visualize the demands of the marchers.
As for the phrase they chose to place on their banner, “No Woman with Dina,” Isabel commented that it alludes to the fact that the current de facto president in her speeches uses the fact of her being a woman to manipulate other women, “saying that she is a woman, that she is a mother, that she cares—it is only manipulation. Not that she calls herself a feminist, but she more or less wants to go that way, and the idea of this slogan and this tableau is to counteract that manipulation.”
These are just some of the organizations, experiences and sectors that mobilized in the third takeover of Lima. Among the participants, there were a large number of people who went on their own, who decided to go out to protest despite the growing criminalization by a de facto regime that is not approved by 95% of the population. Undoubtedly, having been able to overcome fear and return to the streets en masse is an effective antidote against a state dominated by a concentrated, violent and deeply racist group that fears the people. The struggle for the freedom of the detainees, the release of fighters, and justice for the victims of this dictatorship continues.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/September 29, 2023
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/September 28, 2023
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/September 28, 2023