TOP News

World: Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

Peru's president to replace prime minister in Cabinet shakeup

  Peru's president to replace prime minister in Cabinet shakeup By Marco Aquino LIMA (Reuters) -Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, who is leading a transitional government following the ouster of her predecessor, will replace the prime minister as part of a reshuffling of her Cabinet, she said on Sunday. Boluarte was vice president until earlier this month when her predecessor, former President Pedro Castillo, was removed from office and then detained after illegally trying to dissolve Congress.Since assuming the new role, Boluarte's administration has been rocked by political turbulence and widespread protests, which have left 20 dead, with six more killed after incidents related to road blockades, authorities said.

By Alexander Villegas

Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning © Thomson Reuters Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

AYACUCHO, Peru (Reuters) - Edgar Prado, 51, a mechanic and driver from the city of Ayacucho in southern Peru, spent most of the day on Dec. 15 in his garage tinkering on his white Toyota Hilux pickup, even as protests began to build in the airport just a block away.

Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning © Thomson Reuters Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

At 5.56 p.m. that day he would suffer a fatal gunshot wound to the chest and by 6.00 a.m. the next morning he would be dead, according to security camera footage reviewed by Reuters and his autopsy, one of ten people killed in the city in the most bloody violence that has roiled Peru in recent weeks.

Mexican president repeats asylum offer for Peru's Castillo, backs elections

  Mexican president repeats asylum offer for Peru's Castillo, backs elections MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday doubled down on his offer of asylum for ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo and his family, and backed calls for the South American nation to move forward its general elections. Lopez Obrador had previously said he considered Castillo, who was removed from office and arrested earlier this month after trying to illegally dissolve Congress, the rightful president of Peru.

Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning © Thomson Reuters Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

The protests, the worst in years even in tumultuous Peru, have seen 22 people killed, the youngest just 15. The deaths threaten to keep anger fired up despite a lull in violence over the festive period in the heavily Catholic country.

The clashes with the Dec. 7 ouster of former president Pedro Castillo after he tried to illegally dissolve Congress to avoid an impeachment vote he feared losing. He was voted out of office shortly after and arrested for alleged "rebellion". He denies the charges.

His arrest triggered an outpouring of anger at the country's political elite and Congress, widely reviled as corrupt and self-serving, especially in Peru's poor southern mining regions where rising food and energy costs have hit people hard.

Tourists are AIRLIFTED from Machu Picchu after being stranded due to protests across Peru

  Tourists are AIRLIFTED from Machu Picchu after being stranded due to protests across Peru More than 300 tourists have been stuck at Machu Picchu in Peru for nearly a week after the train track to access the site was blocked by boulders placed by protestors. Protests in the country, in which Peruvian authorities say 20 people have died, were sparked when leftist President Pedro Castillo tried to illegally dissolve Congress but was impeached and arrested. Authorities in Peru have now airlifted stranded tourists from Machu Picchu to the city of Cusco.

As new President Dina Boluarte tried to stem the protests, which saw blockades of highways, buildings set on fire and airports invaded, the government declared a nationwide state of emergency on Dec. 14, curtailing some civic rights and allowing the armed forces to support the police maintaining public order.

Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning © Thomson Reuters Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

A day later on Dec. 15 protesters in Ayacucho invaded the runway of the regional airport, a block away from Prado's garage, where he lived and worked on Calle Los Angeles, which ran parallel to the airstrip. The airport was forced to suspend flights.

The army was sent in to wrest back control.

A security camera near the airport shows protesters invading the runway around 2 p.m., some throwing rocks and burning tires while troops gathered. Military helicopters circled above. The public ombudsman said gas grenades were thrown onto protesters below.

Senior Palestinian militant jailed by Israel dies of cancer

  Senior Palestinian militant jailed by Israel dies of cancer (This Dec. 20 story has been corrected to remove reference to the Palestinian militant dying in an Israeli jail in the headline) RAMALLAH/GAZA (Reuters) - A senior Palestinian militant jailed for life by Israel, and who was cited by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a speech to the United Nations, died of cancer on Tuesday, authorities said. Nasser Abu Hmaid, co-founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Abbas's Fatah movement, had been convicted of killing seven Israelis and planning other attacks. The Brigades is deemed a terrorist group in Israel and the West.

Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning © Thomson Reuters Caught in the crossfire, Peru protest deaths keep anger burning

By 5 p.m. the violence spread outside the limits of the airport, and the shooting in the streets began. By the end of the night the clashes would leave 10 people dead or fatally wounded. The most recent died on Dec. 21.

At 5.55 p.m., security camera footage from a store on Calle Los Angeles opposite Prado's home shows a group of protesters and others standing in the street.

The crowd is suddenly startled by something off camera and starts running. On the sidewalk on the far side of the road a person falls and lies still. A group of people come to check on the person, including Edgar who is seen walking the opposite way from the crowd and seemingly out of the entrance to his home. He kneels over the person and stays with them while others run off.

A minute later the footage shows Edgar is shot and collapses. He died the next morning on Dec. 16 from hemorrhagic hypovolemic shock, pulmonary and hepatic lacerations, and open chest trauma caused by a gunshot to the chest, according to his autopsy.

Latin America's 'pink tide' may have hit its high-water mark

  Latin America's 'pink tide' may have hit its high-water mark By Brad Haynes (Reuters) - Dramatic elections in Brazil, Chile and Colombia brought leftist governments into power across much of Latin America in 2022, capping the region's second "pink tide" in two decades. However, their struggles amid stubborn economic headwinds suggest the wave may have crested. An anti-incumbent streak that lifted the left could soon swing major elections the other way. To have the same staying power as the left-wing renaissance at the turn of the century, governments will need to reignite economies that have frustrated voters and investors alike during a decade of mostly mediocre growth.

"The military is supposedly trained to fight terrorism, not take the lives of our residents," his sister Edith told Reuters, adding that he had not been involved in the protests. "He was basically murdered by the military."

She said Edgar left the house he shares with her after gunfire hit their gate and he saw protesters being hurt, a narrative that appears to tally with footage seen by Reuters. She showed Reuters bullet casings and marks on the door frame.

"The only thing I want is justice for my brother."

GRAPHIC - Peru protest deaths

https://www.reuters.com/graphics/PERU-POLITICS/zjvqjjgyxpx/chart.png

LETHAL FORCE A 'LAST RESORT'

The military say they had come under serious attack, which gave them cause to respond with force.

At 1 p.m. on Dec. 15 a military unit that was heading from the town center to the Ayacucho airport was attacked by a crowd with "blunt objects, explosives and handmade firearms", the armed forced said in a statement a day after.

This, the army said, put the troop's "physical integrity at risk" and that they acted within "established legal procedure, strictly applying current norms regarding the use of force".

Peru's military regulations say that in a state of emergency, members of the armed forces can use firearms "in self defense or defense of other people, in the case of imminent risk of death or severe injury, or to avoid particularly dangerous crimes that pose a threat to life."

Wieambilla bushfire at home of Alan Dare, neighbour of Gareth Train Stacey Train and Nathaniel Train

  Wieambilla bushfire at home of Alan Dare, neighbour of Gareth Train Stacey Train and Nathaniel Train Alan Dare, 58, was shot dead last week when he went to try to help after spotting an unrelated fire at the Trains' property during their shootout with police - now a new blaze has threatened his home.Alan Dare, 58, was shot dead last week when he went to try to help after spotting an unrelated fire at the Trains' property during their shootout with police.

It also says use of lethal force should be a "last resort".

Reuters made repeated attempts to interview Peruvian police and military leaders by phone and in person. A reporter went to the military base in Ayacucho to speak to the local general in charge of operations, but was denied access.

The United Nations has called for investigations into child casualties in the protests. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has condemned violence by both security forces and protesters and called for dialogue.

The deaths have become a lightning rod for anger in poor Andean and Amazonian areas, when many feel overlooked despite local oil and copper wealth. Many want major political change and constitutional reform.

"They aimed bullets of war at our brothers," said Rocio Leandro Melgar, a protest leader in Ayacucho, who blamed the government for allowing the violence to happen.

"We'll keep moving forward, things can't stay like this."

'GUNFIRE EVERYWHERE'

Other footage from a security camera at a parking garage near the airport shared with Reuters shows a man standing next to a building looking up the road. Something strikes his arm and he runs to hide behind a tree.

A few seconds later a second man is seen running through the tree-lined plaza opposite. The person runs across the road towards the parking garage camera and suddenly falls to the ground still. The owner of the parking garage said the person died.

Multiple residents in the same neighborhood surrounding the airport said sporadic gunfire continued well into the night.

First aid tricks against tantrums for Christmas

 First aid tricks against tantrums for Christmas anger is power, anger is important, anger reveals deep emotions. Especially at Christmas, anger can also be a hindrance. Here comes our first aid plan for moments when you feel angry with an angry © getty images anger is a strong emotion getty images "I don't know how often I tell my children to clear up their rooms . I guess the 100 times. And they still don't do it. At some point it is enough for me.

Edith Aguilar says her son, Jose Luis, 20, was working at a local soft drinks factory until 6.30 p.m. on the day of the protests and was killed on his way home from work. Autopsy reports shared with Reuters show he died from severe head trauma from a gunshot.

"There was gunfire everywhere," Aguilar, who lives in the area around the airport said. "You couldn't even go outside."

Aguilar said her sister-in-law called her asking whether her son had made it home. She had seen him walking in the street earlier and had heard someone matching his description had been killed.

"My son was coming back from work," Aguilar said. "It's a lie, those people who say we're terrorists."

The most recent fatality, 19-year-old Jhonathan Alarcon, died from internal bleeding on Dec. 21, a week after he was shot in the hip during the Ayacucho protests, according to his aunt who spoke to Reuters and data from Peru's ombudsman.

In an act of protest, his family on Dec. 22 took his coffin to the plaza where he was shot, laying it on the ground while a band played music. One mourner shouted protest slogans from a megaphone underneath a big red banner commemorating the victims of what it called a "massacre".

"They didn't need to shoot like that," Luzmila Alarcon, Jhonathan's aunt who also attended the protest, told Reuters at his memorial service. "It looked like a clash between soldiers, but it was citizens versus the military."

She said the deaths would spur more anger as people looked to find someone to hold accountable.

"It can't be possible that no government or no authority takes responsibility for this," she said. "They weren't stray bullets or accidents. They were direct shots by the military ... This isn't the way to calm the population."

(Reporting by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Daniel Wallis)

Key mining route cleared after days of protests, Peru government says .
(Reuters) - A key road for mining transportation in Peru was cleared after days of protests, a government minister said, as the country struggles with political tensions following the ousting and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo. The so-called southern mining corridor in the Cusco region was cleared on Friday afternoon after a meeting between local and trade organizations, Energy and Mines Minister Oscar Vera said in a statement.Demonstrators have blocked roads and forced the closure of airports as part of protests after the arrest of Castillo and the designation of Dina Boluarte as president.

See also