Lima: Peru’s new President Dina Boluarte said she plans to meet the Congressional Constitution Committee to “shorten the timeframe” for holding the early general elections as deadly protests have intensified across the country.
The protests are being staged by angry supporters of leftist former President Pedro Castillo against his impeachment and subsequent arrest on December 7.
At least seven people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces in the southern departments of Apurimac and Arequipa.
On Monday, Boluarte, Castillo’s successor and former deputy, proposed bringing general elections forward by two years to April 2024 as protests intensified in several parts of the country, with Castillo’s supporters demanding his release, Boluarte’s resignation, early polls and the shutdown of the Congress.
In a statement on Tuesday, the President said she is heading a “transition” government that aims to “call for calm and dialogue” and “solve unresolved problems” in various regions, reports Xinhua news agency.
Boluarte ordered the national police “to not use any lethal weapons, including rubber bullets,” saying those who do will face “the weight of the law”.
Defence Minister Luis Otarola on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Arequipa.
Meanwhile, Castillo called Boluarte’s plans of early elections a “dirty game” and called her an “usurper”, reports the BBC.
The former President claimed he had been “kidnapped” and humiliated.
On Monday, protesters blocked roads and set fire to vehicles, and an estimated 2,000 stormed the airport in Arequipa, blocking the runway and forcing flights to be suspended for several hours.
Police finally dispersed them with tear gas.