1 of 2 | The death toll from ongoing political protests in Peru climbed to 22 on Friday while the country’s new caretaker president Dina Boluarte (R) refused calls to resign.
Photo by Paolo Aguilar/EPA-EFE
Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The death toll from ongoing political protests in Peru has climbed to 22, officials said, as the country's newly installed caretaker president, Dina Boluarte, refused calls to resign.
Two demonstrators died after clashing with police in central Peru on Friday, bringing the death toll to 22 amid widespread protests, authorities said.
Boluarte refused calls to resign, saying such a move will not stop the violence. The president said she would travel to protest-stricken areas and speak directly with demonstrators.
The violence led two of Boluarte's ministers to resign on Friday. Education minister Patricia Correa and culture minister Jair Perez announced their resignations on Twitter. Both cited the escalating death count as the reason why.
Protests began earlier this month after the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo.
Peru's Supreme Court ordered Castillo to be held in pretrial detention for 18 months.
The 53-year-old former school teacher was impeached and arrested hours after he tried to dissolve Peru's congress, triggering deadly national protests. Dozens of people have been injured so far, in addition to the 22 fatalities.
An airport in southern Peru was closed after CORPAC, the country's aviation agency, said the airport has faced vandalism and fires since Saturday afternoon.
Castillo maintains he did not "commit the crime of conspiracy or rebellion." He originally took office in June 2021. Boluarte was sworn into office as a caretaker immediately after Castillo was impeached.
Protestors are demanding that Bolurarte's government close Congress and move up the next general election.
A Friday vote in Peru's legislature that would have moved the election up to 2023, however, fell short of the necessary two-thirds required to pass. The election is still slated to take place in 2026, when Castillo's five-year term ends.
Police along with the Peruvian armed forces issued a joint public statement Wednesday saying they would abide by the constitution, calling Castillo's effort to dissolve Congress an attempted coup.