Peru's president calls for 'national truce' as protests continue

© Pilar Olivares, Reuters

Peru's President Dina Boluarte called Tuesday for a "national truce" to end weeks of unrest that has left at least 46 people dead as protesters press for her resignation and fresh elections.

Many Peruvians remain angry at the December 7 ouster of then-president Pedro Castillo, who was arrested after attempting to dissolve congress and rule by decree, and replaced by Boluarte.

Protests broke out almost immediately, largely fueled by anger in poor rural regions in the south where inhabitants -- mainly Indigenous -- felt that Castillo, who has Indigenous roots himself, represented their interests rather than those of the Lima elite.

Demonstrators have kept up weeks of protests and road blocks and are also demanding the dissolution of Congress and the rewriting of the constitution.

"I call on my dear country to a national truce to allow for the establishment of dialogue, to fix the agenda for each region and develop our towns. I will not tire from calling for dialogue, peace and unity," Boluarte said in a press conference with foreign media.

A visibly emotional Boluarte apologized several times for those killed in the protests but ruled out resigning.

"I will go once we have called a general election... I have no intention of remaining in power."

Boluarte said she was sure Congress would agree in February to advance elections, currently scheduled for April 2024.

Boluarte has called a state of emergency in Peru, allowing the army to assist police in maintaining order.


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