President Pedro Castillo opted for repression against social protests and further complicated his situation. More than eleven million Peruvians woke up this Tuesday with a curfew and state of emergency law, which implies that police can enter homes and make arrests without a court order and eliminates a number of citizens’ rights. The curfew, announced by Castillo a few minutes before midnight on Monday, was in effect from two in the morning until 11:59 pm on Tuesday. However, in the late afternoon on Tuesday, in the face of criticism received from various sectors and protests in the streets against these measures, Castillo announced to Congress the lifting of the curfew. He did not refer to the state of emergency.
State of emergency
Declaring a state of emergency and imposing a curfew was the government’s failed response to social protests against rising prices. basically fuel and food, which led to violence, roadblocks and some looting. The effect was like adding fuel to the flames of social protests.
The acts of violence and looting took place on Monday in various areas of the interior of the country, but a state of emergency and a curfew were decreed for Lima and Callao, a port province territorially linked to the Peruvian capital, where there are no acts of violence. . The government justified this decision by assuring it had intelligence reports indicating that acts of violence and looting were underway in the capital for this Tuesday. He did not provide details on those alleged reports.
Protests against the government
Despite the curfew, thousands of people took to the streets on Tuesday. In the affluent and middle-class neighborhoods there have been mobilizations against the government, demanding Castillo’s resignation. Protesters reached a block from Congress, where they were stopped by a police cordon. At the time, Castillo was meeting there with a group of lawmakers. Assault forces from Fujimori and other groups staged acts of violence and clashes occurred between demonstrators and police. At the end of this chronicle the clashes continued.
So far, the mobilizations to demand Castillo’s resignation sponsored by the right-wing coup had been a failure due to their low calling, but the declaration of a state of emergency and curfew has become a catalyst that has prompted many to join those. mobilizations. In the popular areas of Lima, hard hit by the rise in prices that triggered the protests that caused this crisis, there have been no mobilizations, but indignation has grown for the immobility that has hit their precarious economies the most.
On Tuesday afternoon, Castillo went to Congress with some of his ministers to meet the Parliament’s board of directors and the spokespersons of the various parties. He justified the questionable measures taken by his government by saying that they had to “protect the population”. But a few minutes later he backed down and announced that the curfew had been lifted “by now”. The violence that had taken hold of the streets of downtown Lima did not subside after this announcement. Fujimorism and the ultra-conservative group Avanza País did not attend the meeting of the deputies with the president. Its exclusive agenda is the parliamentary coup.
“Repress, criminalize and limit rights”
Former left-wing presidential candidate Veronica Mendoza, an important ally of Castillo, harshly criticized the course taken by the government. “The government has not only betrayed the promises of change for which the people elected it, but now it is repeating the right’s ‘conflict resolution’ method: ignoring those who mobilize by expressing their legitimate unease with the economic and political situation, repress, criminalize and limit rights. My total rejection of this arbitrary and disproportionate measure, “he said, questioning the state of emergency and the curfew. Left-wing lawmakers outside the official Peru Libre party who supported the regime have joined in this criticism.
The right’s questioning of the repressive measures it had previously called for and applauded to address social protests, which it has always criminalized and now claims to support, highlighted a double argument and its interest in using the social crisis and errors of the government in its response to this crisis to pay for their destabilizing actions that aim at the overthrow of the government.
Castillo’s image has weakened in popular sectorshas lost consensus among his left-wing allies, and mobilizations calling for his resignation have brought together a number of protesters he hadn’t been able to muster before, which leaves him weaker before the onslaught of the right.