Peru: Juliaca Massacre Death Toll Rises to 17

Peru’s human rights ombudsman has confirmed that the death toll from last night’s massacre in Juliaca has risen to 17. The protesters were killed while participating in the general strike against the coup regime led by President Dina Boluarte. 

The statement from the ombudsman reads: “At nine o’clock at night on January 9, 2023, we recorded 17 deaths in Juliaca, and one further death due to events related to the road blockade in Chucuito, Puno”. The total number dead since the coup is now at 46. 

The general strike against the coup is now in its 7th day, with barricades cutting off highways at 45 different points across the country. The indigenous Aymara region of Puno, which borders Bolivia, has been the epicenter of social protest. Other hotspots include; Arequipa, Cusco, Tacna, and Amazonian cities such as Pucallpa and Ucayali. 

Following the deaths last night, Prime Minister Alberto Otárola announced that the government will not resign and will continue the repression in Puno in order to ‘restore order’. Otárola asked the Prosecutor’s Office “to capture and prosecute those who are destroying the country financed by foreign interests and by the dark money of drug trafficking.”

Protests began on December 7th, when security forces arrested President Castillo, who is still being held without charge in Lima. The national congress, in which right-wing parties have a majority, installed Dina Boluarte as President until elections in 2024. Protesters want the resignation of Boluarte, immediate elections, and also a constituent assembly in order to draft a new constitution. 

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