- Vizcarras dismissal and the subsequent assumption of power by Manuel Merino have brought about massive demonstrations.
- Allegations that the former head of state had received $600,000 in bribes to authorize public works when he was governor of the southern region of Moquegua.
- Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Lima and other cities.
Peruvian justice on Friday banned former President Martín Vizcarra from leaving the country for 18 months, four days after Congress impeached him for alleged corruption at the time when he served as a regional governor in 2014. The order was issued by Judge María Alvarez.
Vizcarra dismissal and the subsequent assumption of power by Manuel Merino, former head of the country’s congress have brought about massive demonstrations in Lima and other cities across the nation.
Several people have ended up being wounded by police repression due to the chaos and confrontations between the police and demonstrators,. The actions were strongly condemned by human rights organizations.
The order barring Martín Vizcarra from leaving the country for 18 months was requested by the prosecutor’s office investigating allegations that the former head of state had received $600,000 in bribes to authorize public works when he was governor of the southern region of Moquegua in 2014.
Protests and Clashes with Police
Since Tuesday thousands of people have taken to the streets of Lima and other cities in defense of the former president who is very popular among the masses and to protest against the government of Merino.
In the midst of a new demonstration on Thursday, a group of people who tried to reach Congress confronted the police with stones and sticks. In response, police dispersed them with tear gas and pellets, leading to several sustaining injuries and eight detainees.
Human rights agencies raised their voices on Friday against repression. Peru’s Ombudsman demanded to “immediately cease the use of tear gas and pellets against citizens exercising their right to demonstrate.”
Wounded by Firearms
The protest in lima’s central Plaza San Martín took place peacefully for about four hours, until a group of protesters tried to approach the congress headquarters. A symbol of the Peruvians’ anger at the dismissal of the former president in the confrontation that ensued.
Two young men were wounded and an AFP photographer was hit by pellets on one arm and one leg during the march in St. Martin’s Square.
Authorities have not disclosed balance sheets of the injured or detained. The National Human Rights Coordinator said that in addition to the two young men, 12 other people were injured and eight protesters were arrested.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an autonomous body of the OAS, on Thursday expressed its “concern about the excessive use of force by the police”.
The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in South America, Jan Jarab, had also called on the Peruvian authorities to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly, after ensuring that they had received “disturbing information” on the action of the police.
Vizcarra’s dismissal was also condemned by Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize in Literature, who noted that “clearly the new Congress has violated the Constitution with this measure”.