Human rights group accuses Peru of tolerating killings of protesters – Digital Journal

Of the 49 people killed during protests in Peru, 39 died of gunshot wounds, Human Rights Watch said – Copyright AFP/Juan Carlos Cisneros Archive

Human Rights Watch has accused authorities in Peru of turning a blind eye when security forces committed “extrajudicial and arbitrary” killings of protesters at recent anti-government demonstrations.

The protests erupted in early December after former President Pedro Castillo was indicted and arrested.

Months of demonstrations resulted in regular clashes between security forces and protesters demanding the resignation of Castillo’s successor, Dina Boluarte, leaving nearly 50 dead.

“Peru’s military and police likely carried out arbitrary or extrajudicial killings and other egregious abuses against demonstrators and bystanders during protests from December 2022 to February 2023,” Human Rights Watch said in its report released Wednesday.

Using figures from Peru’s Ombudsman’s Office, HRW said 49 people were killed, including eight children, and that 39 of the deaths were “from gunshot wounds.”

“The Boluarte administration seems to have looked the other way for weeks as security forces killed protesters and bystanders,” said César Muñoz, deputy director for the Americas at HRW.

“There were serious acts of violence by the protesters, which must be investigated, but that does not justify the brutal, indiscriminate and disproportionate response from the security forces.”

HRW urged the government to “invite a commission of independent international experts to support criminal investigations.”

A police officer was burned alive in his vehicle and six soldiers also died during the protests after drowning while running from protesters.

More than 1,3000 people were injured during the protests, including several hundred police officers.

Boluarte, 60, is being investigated by the Public Ministry for alleged “genocide, qualified homicide, and serious injuries,” although her political position grants her immunity from prosecution.

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