Peru declared a 30-day nationwide state of emergency in the wake of the violent protests against the impeachment and subsequent arrest of former President Pedro Castillo.
“We have agreed to declare a state of emergency for the entire country, due to the vandalism and violence, and the seizure of highways and roads,” acts that are being controlled by the National Police and the Armed Forces, Defence Minister Alberto Otarola said late Wednesday following a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
The violent protests, which have left seven people dead in the south of the country, “require a forceful and authoritative response from the government”, he said.
The state of emergency temporarily suspends the right to assembly and to freedom of movement, among other constitutional guarantees.
Political unrest was sparked by the ouster of Castillo on December 7, and has been spreading from the south of the country to northern cities, such as La Libertad.
Among the protesters’ demands are early elections and Castillo’s release from custody.
On Monday, protesters had blocked roads and set fire to vehicles, and an estimated 2,000 stormed the airport in Arequipa, blocking the runway and forcing flights to be suspended for several hours.
Police finally dispersed them with tear gas.