LIMA (Reuters) – Thousands of people took to the streets across Peru on Saturday to demand the resignation of leftist President Pedro Castillo, whose government is under investigation in corruption cases.
Carrying the red, white and red-striped vertical flag of the Andean country and placards with anti-government slogans, protesters marched toward the opposition-dominated congress in the capital, Lima.
Castillo has described those who oppose his government as “reactionaries” and “enemies of the people”.
Police, wearing helmets and plastic shields, fired several tear gas canisters in an attempt to disperse the crowds. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Castillo, who took office in July last year, has survived two impeachment attempts. Opposition lawmakers are seeking a new trial for the president despite Congress admitting he won’t gather enough votes.
“We’re seeing a government engaged in corruption and Congress not reacting,” said Lucas Gersey, a conservative attorney who was one of the organizers of the rally, Peru Reacts.
In October, Peru’s attorney general submitted a constitutional complaint against Castillo to Congress that the right-wing opposition hopes will result in his removal from office.
Discontent is rising in Peru. “I came for my children, and for my grandchildren, because this government is turning into hell,” said Maria del Pilar Blancas.
“They want us to become one more Venezuela,” she said, referring to its South American neighbor, which has plunged into a free economic meltdown.
Similar protests were held in other cities across the country, including Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cusco and Trujillo, according to reports and photos broadcast by local TV channel Canal N.
Additional reporting by Marco Aquino and Sebastian Castaneda in Lima; Written by Stephanie Eschenbacher; Editing by William Mallard
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