In Lima, hundreds of people protested in rejection of the dismissal of Martín Vizcarra as president of the country and the swearing-in of Manuel Merino—until yesterday head of Parliament—as the new president. But many of them also protested as a sign of exhaustion with a corrupt system that has not brought them progress, according to analysts.
“Merino does not represent me,” was one of the slogans of the “discontents”—as demonstrators have taken to calling themselves—who arrived with with flags and banners, just as they had a day earlier when Congress made the decision against Vizcarra.
From early on, the protesters tried to reach the outskirts of Parliament, where the inauguration of Merino was taking place, however, their advance was impeded by a strong police contingent .
Faced with the impossibility of moving forward, the protesters decided to mobilize to the central Plaza San Martín, a dozen blocks from Parliament, to continue expressing their discontent towards the entire political establishment.
The demonstrations were repeated in other regions and cities of the country, such as Arequipa, where the call was made by student representatives of the National University of San Agustín de Arequipa (UNSA).
Este es el gobierno que quiere el señor Merino: de represión y autoritarismo contra los ciudadanos y su derecho a la protesta. Si así nos trata ahora imagínense que hará luego con nuestras demandas. ¡Que se vayan todos! No los queremos. Fuera! pic.twitter.com/tD1a3op9uJ
— Isabel Cortez (@chabelitacongre) November 10, 2020
There are also mobilizations in Trujillo, Chiclayo, Huancayo and Iquitos. The demonstrations were accompanied by cacerolazos (the banging of pots and pans), which were heard louder around 10:00 in the morning (local time), when Merino was sworn in.
Brief history of Peruvian presidency
For the last twenty years the Peruvian political establishment has been plagued with corruption scandals, especially in the presidency, starting with Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) and the Montesinos case; followed by Alejandro Toledo (2000-2006), who ended up arrested in 2016 after being extradited from the United States in connection with the Odebrecht corruption scandal; and continuing with Alan Garcia (2006-2011), who was elected for two terms even though he had spent time in exile evading Peruvian justice, and who committed suicide in 2019 on the day that police were planning to arrest him for corruption, again in connection with the Odebrecht scandal.
Ollanta Humala (2011-2016), who defeated Allan Garcia and finished his term as president in 2016, was arrested in 2017 for corruption, also connected with the Odebrecht scandal. Humala was followed by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016), who had to resign abruptly after two years in power, also under investigation regarding Odebrecht. Vice president Martin Vizcarra assumed the presidency after Kuczynski’s resignation but now, he has had to abandon the post in the midst of corruption charges, again connected to the Brazilian infrastructure contractor Odebrecht.
Vizcarra was fired on Monday, after Congress approved, with 105 votes in favor, 19 against and 4 abstentions, the second dismissal request against him in less than two months.
La policía bloquea el paso de los manifestantes a la altura de la cancillería. Los manifestantes se sientan en la pista para evitar ser embestidos por las motos de la PNP. @elcomercio_peru pic.twitter.com/MQtFQj9yDC
— Rodrigo Cruz (@rcruza) November 10, 2020
On this occasion, he was prosecuted in Parliament for “moral incapacity,” while an investigation into an alleged case of corruption in the construction of a hospital is being processed in the Prosecutor’s Office, dating from when he was regional governor of Moquegua (2011-2014). The dismissal occurs only five months before the next presidential election.
— El Búho🦉 (@elbuho_pe) November 10, 2020
“Today I am leaving the Government Palace. Today I am going home despite the fact that there are innumerable recommendations for us to act through legal actions to prevent this decision,” said the now ex-president.
Featured image: File photo courtesy of Huachos.com.
(La IguanaTV) with OT content