Bishops of Peru Call for Dialogue after Deadly Clashes Between Police and Protestors of the Government

(Agenzia Fides) - The Peruvian "Defensoria del Pueblo" has reported that during the weekend demonstrations took place in several cities of the country to demand the closure of Parliament, the resignation of the new President Dina Boluarte and the return to power of Pedro Castillo, arrested and dismissed. A total of seven people have died in clashes between police and protesters. Three teenagers were among the victims.
Meanwhile, the governments of Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Bolivia have also publicly pledged their support to President Castillo, stressing that he "has been the victim of a hostile and undemocratic movement in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights since the day of his election."
On the afternoon of December 7, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, who has been the subject of multiple corruption investigations since taking office in 2021 and ahead of the vote on the third no-confidence motion of "moral incompetence" this year, dissolved parliament, called new elections and declared a state of emergency. However, Parliament dismissed him and appointed Vice-President Dina Boluarte as his successor, who was sworn in at an extraordinary session, as required by the Constitution. Castillo was then arrested for "crimes against the state and the constitutional order" (see Fides, 9/12/2022). As a result of recent events, despite promises of new elections, demonstrations have erupted in several cities across the country, rekindling antagonisms between the two political camps that have long fueled political instability.
A few hours ago, the Peruvian Bishops' Conference published a communiqué on the "recent and painful episodes of violence" that have occurred in the country as a result of the political crisis. The bishops regret the deaths in the clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement officials and express their condolences to the families: "We urgently appeal," write the bishops, "to build bridges of dialogue, asking for serenity from all our compatriots who are protesting in various parts of the country".
In this context, the bishops appeal to the law enforcement agencies, in particular the national police, "to act within the framework of the law and to ensure the integrity of the people". Politicians, and in particular the Executive and the members of the Congress of the Republic, should strive for "institutionalism, democratic order, due process and the common good of all Peruvians, especially the most vulnerable" and all Peruvian institutions are called upon, "to guarantee the stability of the country, because we cannot afford the luxury of misgoverning our country".
In conclusion, the bishops reiterated that "our beloved country must not continue to live in anxiety, fear and uncertainty. We need sincere dialogue, to calm spirits, to protect our weak democracy, preserve institutionality and protect the fraternity of our people". Finally they state: "Violence is no solution to crises or differences. No more violence, no more deaths! Peru must be our priority". (SL) (Source: Agenzia Fides, 13/12/2022)