Monday marked the deadliest day of protests so far, with at least 17 people dead in clashes with the police in Peru, according to the country’s human rights office. Protesters are calling for early elections as well as the release of Pedro Castillo, a former president who is currently imprisoned.
68 people were hurt in the clashes that took place in Juliaca, which is located in the Puno area of southern Peru. According to the ministry, the deceased included at least 2 teenagers.
According to Ismael Cornejo, the regional health director for Puno, who spoke with the local radio station RPP, several of the dead had gunshot wounds.
The most recent deaths bring the total number of people killed in clashes with forces to 39. The protests began in early December after the arrest and removal of Castillo after he attempted to illegally dissolve Congress.
Castillo is now serving a pre-trial prison sentence of 18 months for allegations of rebellion, which he vigorously rejects.
According to sources, the airport in Juliaca is unable to accommodate the evacuation of 28 wounded police personnel. According to Alberto Otarola, the Peruvian Prime Minister, hundreds of demonstrators attempted to storm the airport as well as a police post. An official from the Ombudsman’s office said earlier on Monday that a newborn baby had passed away while being transported in an ambulance from the town of Yunguyo, which is located southeast of Juliaca, to a nearby hospital. The transfer was held up because of a roadblock.