Thousands march in Peru calling for president's removal

Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Lima on Saturday to call for the removal of President Pedro Castillo, the subject of an unprecedented six investigations for corruption.

Opponents of Castillo's government marched through the capital's center until dozens of riot police used tear gas to prevent them from reaching Parliament and the government palace.

"I come to the march to get that corrupt man out. Castillo must leave, that's what this march is for, to get him out," protester Nancy Huarcaya told AFP.

"We are here representing millions of Peruvians. Peru can't take it anymore. We are on the edge of the precipice, economically everything has stagnated," Carola Suarez, holding a Peruvian flag, told AFP.

Similar demonstrations called by political groups and civil associations took place in other cities around the country, two weeks before the arrival of a delegation from the Organization of American States to "analyze" the political crisis.

At the same time, a mobilization of collectives and unions marched in support of the president in Lima's San Martin square.

Castillo, a former rural school teacher, has been under nonstop fire since unexpectedly taking power from Peru's traditional political elite in elections last year.

He has survived two impeachment attempts since taking office in July 2021 and is the target of six criminal investigations for alleged graft and plagiarizing his university thesis.

In addition to these, Peru's attorney general last month filed a constitutional complaint accusing Castillo of heading a criminal organization involving his family and allies.

Castillo, serving a five-year term that ends in 2026, cannot be criminally tried while in office.

"They will have me until the last day of my term because my people have decided so," Castillo said Saturday morning at the government palace.

He denies that his family has committed crimes and says he is the victim of a campaign to remove him from power.

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