West News Wire: Following protests that have claimed at least 42 lives in recent weeks, the government of Peru has proclaimed a state of emergency in the capital Lima and three additional areas.
The late-Saturday announcement of the law, which will be in effect for 30 days, gives the army permission to step in to keep the peace while suspending certain basic rights like the right to free speech and the right to assemble.
Since Marxist former president Pedro Castillo was ousted from power and jailed in December for attempting to illegally dissolve Congress, protests against President Dina Boluarte have swept the South American country.
Boluarte, the vice president, took over as president in his place.
For weeks, Castillo supporters have blocked roadways and marched throughout the nation, calling for Boluarte and new elections.
On Thursday, authorities closed air and rail links to Peru’s famed Machu Picchu tourist site as protests flared up, leading to clashes between police and protesters.
While Boluarte has apologised for the violence, on Friday the 60-year-old insisted she would not resign amid the turmoil, and rejected the possibility of calling a constitutional assembly as demanded by protesters – pointing to the difficulties Peru’s neighbour Chile has had in drafting and approving a new constitution.
Castillo, who was being investigated in several fraud cases during his tenure, has been remanded in custody for 18 months, charged with rebellion.
Peru has been riddled with political instability in recent years. Boluarte, 60, is the sixth person to hold the presidency in five years.