Protests Erupt as Peru President Dina Boluarte Faces Genocide Accusations

Lima, Peru – Peruvian President Dina Boluarte faced fierce backlash on Saturday during a visit to the southern Andean region of Ayacucho, where 10 people were reported killed during anti-government protests in December 2022. Unverified videos shared on social media show people pushing up against security officials shouting “Dina is a murderer!” One woman, who said her husband had been killed in mid-December 2022 in protests that would go on for months, managed to evade security and shake up the president. Local media reported that she was taken away by police but not detained.

The woman identified herself to reporters as Ruth Barcena and said her late husband, Leonardo Hancco, had been fatally shot during protests in December 2022. “My husband was murdered here. They killed my husband, and they want me to calm down?” Barcena shouted in the crowd.

The December 2022 protests broke out after former President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested while illegally trying to close Congress. His vice-president, Boluarte, was rapidly sworn in but dozens died in ensuing protests, mostly in southern Peru. Boluarte has faced a constitutional complaint and probe on charges of “genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries,” charges she denies. Prime Minister Jorge Otarola condemned Saturday’s protest as a “lamentable” act, saying it had “put in danger the head of state’s integrity and this is very serious. With violence, we all lose as a country.”

Peru’s interior ministry said it would carry out investigations to identify those responsible. Boluarte has faced scrutiny and criticism amidst allegations of human rights violations, adding to the political turmoil in the country. This has cast a shadow over her presidency and raised concerns about the stability and safety of Peru under her leadership.

The ongoing unrest and public outrage highlight the deep divisions and dissatisfaction within Peruvian society, with many citizens feeling disillusioned and aggrieved by the government’s actions. The government’s ability to address the grievances and restore peace and stability will be crucial in determining the country’s future direction and the well-being of its people.