Murderer!: Peru President Faces Fierce Backlash in Slain Protesters’ Hometown
16:12 JST, January 21, 2024
LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian President Dina Boluarte faced fierce backlash on Saturday from residents 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 on X, 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.
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