Police in Lima use teargas on demonstrators, with authorities claiming massive fire at historic building was ‘duly planned’
Dozens of Peruvians were injured when tensions flared again on Friday night as police clashed with protesters in anti-government demonstrations that are spreading across the country.
In the capital, Lima, police officers used teargas to repel demonstrators throwing glass bottles and stones, as fires burned in the streets, TV footage showed.
In the southern Puno region about 1,500 protesters attacked a police station in the town of Ilave, said the interior minister, Vicente Romero. A police station in Zepita, Puno, was also on fire, he said.
Health authorities in Ilave reported eight patients hospitalised with injuries, including broken arms and legs, eye contusions and punctured abdomens.
By late afternoon, 58 people had been injured nationwide in demonstrations, according to a report from Peru’s ombudsman.
The unrest followed a day of turmoil on Thursday, when one of Lima’s most historic buildings burned to the ground, as President Dina Boluarte vowed to get tougher on “vandals”.
The destruction of the building, a near-century-old mansion in central Lima, was described by officials as the loss of a “monumental asset”. Authorities are investigating the causes.
Romero on Friday claimed the blaze was “duly planned and arranged”.
Thousands of protesters descended on Lima this week calling for change and angered by the protests’ mounting death toll, which officially stood at 45 on Friday.
At the beginning of the Friday’s protests, the demonstrators seemed more organised than the previous day and they took over key roads in downtown Lima.
Police appeared more combative than the day before and after standing watch over protesters that had been blocked into downtown streets, they started firing volleys of teargas.
Protests have rocked Peru since Pedro Castillo was ousted as president in December after he attempted to dissolve the legislature to prevent an impeachment vote.
Boluarte has dismissed calls for her to resign and hold snap elections, instead calling for dialogue and promising to punish those involved in the unrest.
In the Cusco region, Glencore’s major Antapaccay copper mine suspended operations on Friday after protesters attacked the premises – one of the largest in the country – for the third time this month.
Source: The Guardian