Peruvian president overhauls Cabinet

July 12, 2009 at 12:47 PM

LIMA, July 12 (UPI) -- Peruvian President Alan Garcia has replaced much of his Cabinet after a month of political violence in which at least 33 people were killed, officials said.

Garcia Saturday appointed a new prime minister, Javier Velasquez Quesquen, and replaced seven members of the Cabinet, the BBC reported Sunday.

At least 33 police officers and protesters died last month when security forces tried to end a blockade by indigenous people protesting rising unemployment and what they see as exploitation of ancestral Amazon land.

Garcia's Cabinet had been widely criticized for its handling of the protests.

Quesquen, who was president of the Peruvian Congress, replaces Yehude Simon, who had been chosen prime minister to build bridges with government opposition groups.

Garcia also replaced seven of 16 ministers, including the ministers of defense, commerce, work, justice, agriculture, industry and the interior.

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