A building in Peru’s capital, Lima, caught fire as thousands of people took to the streets as rioting spread. Photo/Hindustan Times
LIMA – Thousands of protesters in Peru Angry protesters took to the streets of the capital, Lima, late Thursday after the death toll rose since riots erupted last month and called for sweeping changes. Most of the demonstrators were indigenous Peruvians from the south of the country.
Police estimate the demonstration was attended by around 3,500 people, but others speculate the number more than doubled.
Rows of police in riot gear confronted stone-throwing protesters in several streets, and a historic building in the city’s historic center caught fire late Thursday.
A fire department commander told local radio the building in San Martin Plaza was empty as the blaze flared up with no known cause.
Canada-based mining company Hudbay said in a statement that protesters had entered their Peru unit site, damaged and set fire to the main engine and vehicle.
“This is not a protest; this is sabotage of the rule of law,” Prime Minister Peri Alberto Otarola said on Thursday night with President Dina Boluarte and other government ministers as quoted by France 24, Friday (20/1/2023).
Peru’s Interior Minister Vicente Romero denied claims circulating on social media that the fire in Lima was caused by a police officer’s tear gas grenade.
Over the past month, the sometimes deadly protests have led to some of the worst violence Peru has seen in more than two decades. Many people in poorer rural areas have vented their anger at Lima’s government over inequality and rising prices, testing the country’s democratic institutions.
The protests were sparked by the dramatic ouster of leftist former President Pedro Castillo on December 7 after he tried to illegally shut down Congress and consolidate power.
Read: The Sadism of Protests in Peru, Police Officers Burnt to Death
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