The faces of Peru’s protest: ‘What are they trying to do? For Peruvians to start killing one another?’

Thousands of people are pouring into the capital from all corners of the country to demand an end to protester deaths and ask for Dina Boluarte’s resignation

Peru Lima
A protester in the streets of Lima, during protests against the government of Dina Boluarte on Thursday.AUDREY CÓRDOVA

Thousands of people from all over Peru have arrived in Lima in the last few hours to participate in a massive march against the government. The protesters are calling for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, who remains in office despite the fact the country has been paralyzed by protests ever since she came to power on December 7 to replace Pedro Castillo, currently in pre-trial detention over his attempted self-coup.

Over 50 people have died in clashes with the authorities and, as can be seen in videos, some have clearly been deliberately killed. A cabinetmaker, an obstetrician who quit her job to be here, an informal worker and a student explain their reasons for participating in the march.

An outraged man from Puno

Protester from Puno at the San Marcos National University.
Protester from Puno at the San Marcos National University.Mauricio Morales

“They are denouncing anyone who protests. Our fight is fair. How many killings have there been? People are incensed. Who would not seek to retaliate when they kill your son, your nephew, your brother? Yesterday they killed three people in the place where I am from, and people burned down the police station. Now we want to fight until that killer, Dina, resigns. That woman does not represent us, she has no dignity, no honor, no principles. We have a lot of anger inside. We have come here from every village with a single intention: for this corrupt government to quit. We are not animals to be killed this way. Policemen are shooting at people’s heads. That doesn’t even happen in wartime. Those are murders.”

Cabinetmaker from San Román, Puno

Protester from Puno at San Marcos National University.
Protester from Puno at San Marcos National University.Mauricio Morales

“I am a cabinetmaker. I come from a very rich place, we have gold, lithium, uranium, copper. But there is a lot of poverty, extreme poverty. There is total corruption. Peru has been corrupted. We do not believe in any of our institutions. Not in the police nor in the judiciary. We don’t even report crimes anymore. There is only justice for those who have money. We want things to change. There is an abuse of power. We want support from abroad, to be listened to. We are going to solve this problem, as Peruvians. Congress is dangerous, they are scheming against the people, and there is nothing for the people. They think they can handle us at gunpoint, they want to impose a state of siege. What are they trying to do? For Peruvians to start killing one another?”

Obstetrician from Puno

Protester from Puno at San Marcos National University.
Protester from Puno at San Marcos National University.Mauricio Morales

I’m an obstetrician, but I quit my job to come fight. I will stay here until victory is achieved. As young people we have to make ourselves heard. We come from a forgotten province, unfortunately the presidents do not go there. With the death of our brothers they are trying to tell us that we are nobody, that we are terrucos (terrorists), and that hurts. A president should never treat us that way. If we have chosen a president, it is to do something for our Peru. We have all come here together, everything is self-convened, with no one to direct it. Everyone brings what little they have, and we want them to listen to us. That lady who is in the presidency, who challenges us, she is bad, she cannot treat us that way. It hurts us Peruvians. We are Peru. We didn’t come here for money, just for respect. They are robbing us, they are humiliating us.”

Law student in Lima

Student of the San Marcos National University
Student of the San Marcos National UniversityMauricio Morales

“My name is Víctor, I am 23 years old and I am studying law. As students we are not oblivious to what is happening. Fellow Peruvians from other regions are coming here and they need a place to sleep and rest. We are going to stay here until they decide to go home. I will participate in the march and let’s hope that all our slogans are heard, especially the closure of Congress and Dina’s resignation. These are the changes that our country needs.”

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