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Peru protests grind on despite state of emergency, court mulls prison for former president

2022-12-15T16:29:50Z

Protesters blocked roads in Peru again on Thursday, despite the government’s enactment of a state of emergency, while judicial authorities mulled giving ousted former president Pedro Castillo a year and a half of preventive detention.

Local television footage showed a line of dozens of vehicles stranded on the side of a key coastal highway south of Lima and hundreds of protesters placing stones on roads in the Andean regions of Puno, Cusco and Arequipa.

Peru announced a nationwide state of emergency on Wednesday, granting police special powers and limiting freedoms including the right to assembly, after Castillo’s removal fueled a week of protests that have left at least eight dead.

Castillo, a leftist elected in 2021, was ousted on Dec. 7 in an impeachment vote and promptly arrested after illegally trying to dissolve Congress. His former vice president, Dina Boluarte, was sworn into office after his removal.

Prosecutors are seeking 18 months of pretrial detention for Castillo, who has been charged with rebellion and conspiracy.

Peru’s supreme court has until Friday to decide.

Castillo has the denied accusations and on Wednesday in a message on Twitter asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to “intercede” on behalf of his rights.

Peru’s General Confederation of Workers, one of the country’s largest unions, has called for a “day of fighting”, amid protests demanding immediate elections, the closure of Congress, a constituent assembly and the resignation of Boluarte.

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Supporters of Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo gather outside the police prison where he is being held, in Lima, December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

Supporters of Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo hold a banner reading “Freedom for President Castillo, Restitution, Constituent Assembly” as they gather outside the police prison where Castillo is being held, in Lima, December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda


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