Thousands of Peruvians have taken to the streets this week to protest the interim government of newly appointed President Manuel Merino, a member of Peru’s center-right Popular Action Party who as head of Congress played a key role in ousting his predecessor, Martín Vizcarra, in what critics are calling a “legislative coup.”
As The Washington Post reported earlier this week, the removal of Vizcarra on Monday was “based on still-unproven bribery allegations,” which critics called “a congressional coup staged by Machiavellian legislators desperate to halt his anti-corruption and political reform campaigns.”
While Vizcarra is no leftist like Bolivia’s Evo Morales, his popular anti-corruption efforts jeopardized legislators’ “pocketbooks and threatened to end many of their political careers,” the Post noted.
The Guardian reported earlier this week that a previous attempt to oust Vizcarra in September “failed to get enough votes,” but this week’s impeachment trial unfolded “as Peru is reeling from one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, which has left its economy in recession and caused mass unemployment.”
To help answer the question, “What’s going on in Peru?” researcher and analyst David Griscom appeared Friday on The Michael Brooks Show and offered this snapshot of the situation:
Since Vizcarra was forced out, protesters have clashed with police forces that teleSUR reported are increasingly violent toward citizens.
According to the Guardian, at least 11 people, including journalists, have been wounded as of Friday, some from rubber bullets.
“The clashes, and other more peaceful protests in the capital Lima and other cities,” the news outlet reported, “are piling pressure on a fragmented Congress” as well as Merino, who was inaugurated on Tuesday under circumstances that the vast majority of the country considers illegitimate.
José Vega, a protester in Lima, told the Guardian that “all of Peru is fired up, we’re all very angry.”
“They treat us poorly,” he continued. “We’ve only come to protest against injustice … We are all feeling pain.”
“We’re in the streets spontaneously and peacefully defending Peruvian democracy from an abuse by Congress,” Gino Costa, a lawmaker from the progressive Morado party who joined Thursday’s protests, told the Guardian.
Vega added: “I’m saying to everyone, let’s not give up.”