This past week was the 78th United Nations General Assembly as leaders from around the globe flew to New York City for a week of high-level meetings and speeches. Among those featured to speak at the GA was Dina Boluarte, the current coup leader of the Andean country of Perú. Since December 7th, 2022, the Peruvian masses have organized themselves and mobilized against this U.S. backed coup led by the far right dominated Congress beholden to local and international elite interests that ousted democratically elected president Pedro Castillo Terrones.
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.
This Saturday, thousands of Peruvians faced severe police hostility while taking part in the great national march against the government of Dina Boluarte, marking the context of the third Seizure of Lima. The demonstrators convened at various locations across Lima, including Dos de Mayo and Bolognesi Squares. From these points, they initiated a march towards the seat of the Congress, voicing slogans of discontent towards both the executive and legislative bodies. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the Peruvian Police deployed tear gas against a group of demonstrators who were making their way from Abancay Avenue into San Martin Square.
The National Unitary Coordination Platform of Struggle (CNUL), composed of several Peruvian social movements, called for a new march on Saturday to demand the resignation of de facto President Dina Boluarte. The platform of social movements announced that Saturday, July 22, will be a day of peaceful struggle, with marches in working class neighborhoods of the northern, southern and eastern parts of Lima, and in other regions of the country. On Wednesday, July 19, marchers from all over the country took over the capital and 59 other provinces, and the CNUL plans to continue the same during July 24-29.
The people of Peru took to the streets this Wednesday and Thursday to demand the resignation of the main leaders of President Dina Boluarte’s regime, the advancement of general elections, and the restitution of democracy in the Andean nation. More than 20,000 Peruvians are the protagonists of the Great March of the Peoples, the Takeover of Peru. They want a change, and they want it now. The anti-government protests reactivated four months after the long wave of social anger that convulsed Peru between last December and March, following the coup against left-wing former president Pedro Castillo.
Thousands of workers, Indigenous people, students, artists, peasants, and left activists are preparing to take the streets on July 19 in Peru’s capital Lima. The mobilization, called the “Third Takeover of Lima,” has been called for by a broad coalition of trade unions, peasant and Indigenous organizations, left parties and organizations, and artistic groups in an effort to continue the struggle against the coup regime of Dina Boluarte. Since the coup against President Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022, the people of Peru have been on the streets in defense of their vote and have raised clear political demands for an immediate solution to the political and institutional crisis.
A study by a leading polling firm in Peru found that the country’s coup-plotting congress has an approval rating of just 6%, with a staggering 91% disapproval. The South American nation’s unelected president, Dina Boluarte, has the approval of just 15% of Peruvians, with 78% disapproval. In December 2022, Peru’s democratically elected leftist President Pedro Castillo was overthrown in a congressional coup. The military arrested him, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, without due process. The US ambassador in Peru, Lisa Kenna, is a CIA veteran who strongly supported the coup against Castillo, and has collaborated closely with Boluarte.
On Thursday March 30, Peruvian legislators from the parliamentary benches of progressive Free Peru, Democratic Peru and Democratic Change-Together for Peru political parties presented in Congress a vacancy motion against the de-facto President Dina Boluarte for “permanent moral incapacity” to continue in office. The left-wing legislators condemned Boluarte for unleashing brutal police and military repression against peaceful protesters during the past four months of protests against her government. The legislators pointed out that at least 49 protesters have been killed in these months at the hands of public security forces.
As the coup against President Pedro Castillo continues into its third month, the political repression on the ground has been severe and growing. From a single mother who fundraised approximately 2000 soles (roughly under $500) to buy food, medicine, and other necessities for protesters coming to Lima from provincial regions, to community leaders from the FREDEPA (Front for the Defense of the People of Ayacucho)in Ayacucho taken to a military base to be tortured before being taken by helicopter to the capital city, it is the predominantly indigenous campesino populations and those in solidarity with them and the organized masses as a whole that are being targeted.
A group of Peruvian human rights organizations and independent lawyers, on Wednesday, February 15, filed a legal complaint against Dina Boluarte, her ministers, and police chiefs over the deaths of six people killed during protests in the Apurímac region in December 2022. The complaint states that during the first five days of demonstrations against Boluarte’s assumption of power, which began on December 7, 2022, six people were killed, 83 were injured, and dozens were arrested and tortured at the hands of police officers. According to a statement by the Legal Defense Institute—one of the organizations that filed the lawsuit—five of the deceased lost their lives due to firearm projectile impacts, two were adolescents, and the eldest victim was only 19 years old.
According to the National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru (CNDDHH), in the past 50 days of social protests, 56 people, including seven minors, were killed and 912 people were injured. In Peru’s capital Lima, massive mobilizations have occurred daily for the past week to demand the resignation of de-facto president Dina Boluarte, the closure of the right-wing dominated Congress, early general elections, and a new constitution through a Constituent Assembly. Peaceful mobilizations were also recorded in Piura and Tacna regions. On Thursday January 26, protesters marched along the Panamerican highway from the north of Lima to Plaza Dos de Mayo and Plaza San Martín. The marches in the capital have seen widespread participation from students and workers in the city, but have been largely composed of the delegations of peasant, Indigenous, and trade union organizations who arrived to Lima from Puno, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and other regions to bring their demands to the seat of government.
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.
This Tuesday, January 10, the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office ordered a preliminary investigation to be initiated against the de facto president, Dina Boluarte, for crimes of genocide, qualified homicide, and serious injuries, regarding the protests that have shaken the country after the ousting of Pedro Castillo as head of state. Several members of Boluarte’s cabinet will also be investigated, including the president of the council of ministers, Alberto Otárola, minister of the interior, Víctor Rojas, and minister of defense, Jorge Chávez, will also be investigated. In addition, the body ordered an investigation against Pedro Angulo, as former president of the council of ministers, and César Cervantes, as former minister of the interior. The measure will be applied in relation to “the alleged crimes of genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries,” committed during the demonstrations in the months of December 2022 and January 2023, across the regions of Apurímac, La Libertad, Puno, Junín, Arequipa, and Ayacucho.
In just over six years, Peru has had seven different presidents. The period between July 2016 and December 2022 has been a time of deep political instability. This chaos is largely due to Peru’s deeply undemocratic constitution, which was inherited from the far-right US-backed dictator Alberto Fujimori, who governed the country with an iron fist from 1990 until 2000, committing genocide against the Indigenous population and killing, torturing, and disappearing thousands of dissidents. Article 113 of Peru’s constitution gives the unicameral congress the ability to remove presidents if two-thirds of members vote to declare that they have a “moral incapacity.”