Peru vows to use only legitimate force during upcoming protests


LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s government vowed on Friday to use only appropriate force in protests planned for next week and guarantee demonstrators’ safety, following alleged abuses during the previous series of clashes.

President Dina Boluarte met with top officials on Friday to discuss the need to guarantee protesters’ human rights.

“We call upon the authorities to apply the legitimate use of force in accordance with the law and to guarantee the safety and integrity of those who will participate,” Prime Minister Alberto Otarola said in a statement.

The government’s pledge follows months of violent protests between December and March, during which human rights groups documented abuses and multiple “extrajudicial killings” committed by security forces against protesters.

The country has been gripped by unrest since former President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested in December after he illegally tried to dissolve Congress.

Various left-wing groups and unions in Peru have announced new protests starting on July 19 to demand Boluarte’s resignation, the closure of Congress, early elections and a new constitution.

The organizers of the new protests say they expect thousands of people will be mobilized in the capital and around the southern area, where the country’s largest mines are located.

The police have said they will deploy 8,000 officers to prevent possible disturbances and that they are already controlling the entry into capital Lima from outside.

The government also this week extended the state of emergency in key regions for 30 days.

“We call on citizens who want to exercise the right of assembly, the right to demonstrate and protest, to do so peacefully,” Otarola added.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Isabel Woodford, Editing by Sandra Maler)

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