Peru — Massive Protests Follow Vizcarra’s Removal

  • In addition to the capital city, protests were also witnessed in Arequipa, Cuzco, Tacna, Ancash, Iquitos, Puno, Chiclayo and Ica, among other cities.
  • “Today I am leaving the presidential palace. Today I am going home,” Vizcarra said.
  • Tuesday’s motion that kicked Vizcarra out of office was the second impeachment motion against Vizcarra in two months.

Peru was a scene of violent protests on Tuesday as thousands took to the streets in opposition to the removal from office of President Martin Vizcarra, and the subsequent take over by Manuel Merino. The Police used tear gas and water jets in the center of the nation’s capital, Lima, to disperse the irate protesters.

As well as Lima, several other cities across the country saw hundreds of people join rallies.

Merino assumed office after Vizcarra’s impeachment as President of Congress. The area where the Government Palace and Congress are located witnessed strong opposition to the new interim president, who replaced Martín Vizcarra after his dismissal by parliament on Monday.

In addition to the capital city, protests were also witnessed in Arequipa, Cuzco, Tacna, Ancash, Iquitos, Puno, Chiclayo and Ica, among other cities.

Peru has been witnessing political uncertainty rarely seen in the region since 2016:

  • In March 2017, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) resigned from the presidency, succeeded by Martín Vizcarra.
  • In 2016, PPK’s predecessor, Ollanta Humala, was arrested in the Lavajato case, and is now at large.
  • Humala’s predecessor, Alan García, committed suicide in 2019 when he was about to be arrested in the Lavajato case.
  • Alejandro Toledo is a fugitive from justice in the US, and his predecessor, Alberto Fujimori, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for corruption and crimes against humanity.

On Monday, Vizcarra accepted his impeachment, but noted that “history and the Peruvian people will judge Congress.” The outgoing president was dismissed from office with 105 votes in favor, 19 votes against and 4 abstentions, following accusations of having received alleged bribes during his reign as a regional governor in the country, six years ago.

Presidential elections are scheduled for April 2021, and Mr Vizcarra is banned by the constitution from running for a second term.

Today I am leaving the presidential palace. Today I am going home,” Vizcarra said during a speech late on Monday, surrounded by his cabinet in the courtyard of the presidential residence in downtown Lima.

Vizcarra explained that despite the fact that there are recommendations that his team resort to the courts of law to prevent his dismissal, he explained that he was not going to take any legal action over the issue. Instead, he said that he is leaving with his head held high and ready to face the false accusations.

Vizcarra maintained that he is leaving the presidency “with a clear conscience and duty fulfilled,” since “all my life I have acted with transparency and put all my effort, my ability and my heart at the service of the people.”

 Vizcarra gave his last message as president in the courtyard of the Government Palace. The former president of the Council of Ministers, Pedro Cateriano, pointed out that “the removal of President Martin Vizcarra from office is a coup d’etat.”

Tuesday’s motion that kicked Vizcarra out of office was the second impeachment motion against Vizcarra in two months. This reflects the the bad blood between the Executive and the Legislature that was installed on March 17. The majority parties in Congress are Popular Action and Alliance for Progress.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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