Above Photo: The Local Read.
Seven months in, and in the face of brutal state repression, the people of Peru continue their struggle against the neoliberal dictatorship of the Boluarte coup regime.
National Strike, Day 196
On July 19th, over 7 months after the parliamentary coup that ousted President Pedro Castillo, tens of thousands of Peruvians gathered in the capital city for the Third Takeover of Lima. This date marks the 1977 national march and strike against the military dictatorship of General Morales Bermúdez. The march and strike, which were led by unions and workers, rejected Bermúdez’s neoliberal labor reforms and the dictatorship. The mass mobilizations that followed led to his ouster, a return to democracy and establishment of a constituent assembly.
Peruvians are currently in the streets to oust the unelected regime led by Dina Boluarte, reinstate the democratically-elected Castillo, replace the unrepresentative Congress with a Constituent Assembly that can rewrite the Fujimori-era Constitution, and get justice for the more than 80 Peruvians killed and thousands injured and imprisoned since the start of the coup on 7 December 2022.
In the leadup to the July 19th mobilization, Peruvian National Police erected identification and search checkpoints, targeting individuals and buses entering Lima, including from the PanAmerican South Highway. Days before the National March, the police also held a military style parade through the center of Lima. Boluarte sent the military to the mining corridor of the Andes in southern Peru and declared states of emergency days prior to the mobilization. Nevertheless, an estimated 30,000 Peruvians took to the streets on July 19th to demand that Boluarte step down.
The General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP), the National United Central of Peasant Patrols of Peru (CUNARC) and other organizations called for the July 19th national march to remobilize in the capital the protest movement of delegations that had returned to their regions in the months prior to organize and build their strength and numbers.
The July 19th protests were not limited to Lima, or even Peru, and have extended beyond that day. At least 12 blockades were organized by the people in northern and southern regions and at the International Bridge in Ilave, Puno, which was shut down in solidarity with Aymara women who were brutally repressed by police on July 22nd. More protests have been called for July 27th, 28th, and 29th to coincide with Peru’s Independence Day. Peruvians in diaspora rallied across the world in solidarity with their compatriots in front of Peruvian embassies and students at universities in Huancavelica and Cajamarca occupied their centers in solidarity. According to the latest poll conducted by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), 58% of the population identifies with the national marches.
Peruvian armed forces continue the brutal repression now characteristic of the Boluarte regime. Peruvian National Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at close range and indiscriminately at protesters. An independent journalist was injured in her face with a rubber bullet and shot multiple times in her back on July 19. On July 22nd, Aymara women , who had been tear-gassed at close range in March, were once again brutally attacked in Plaza San Martin , this time after reclaiming the plaza from a police blockade erected since December.
The people of Puno have ratified a strike and will send more delegations to Lima in solidarity with their sisters. In Apurímac, which was the target of the first massacre by the bloody coup regime on December 10, the National Federation of Educational Workers (FENATE Perú) announced an indefinite strike that began on July 20. At this writing, no one has been tried for the approximately 80 people killed since the start of the December coup. The sister of John Mendoza Huarancca , murdered on December 15th in Ayacucho, remains distraught after having lost her brother and months later, her mother due to grief. Justice for the fallen martyrs remains one of the loudest rallying cries of the masses in the streets and has moved others to join in indignation.
On July 19, 2023, Luis, a leader in the Plurinational Council of Tawantinsuyu, urgently called diaspora Peruvians to action in a statement in New York City:
Everyone must come out against this genocidal government that has assassinated our brothers and sisters simply for marching. Those of us from Huancavelica, the south, and the north have come here to oust these rats and to demand the liberty and restitution of our President Pedro Castillo Terrones. He is the only president that was elected by the people and for the people. And for that he was punished. But the people will win, and we won’t leave until we accomplish our just goals. Until victory, always!