(FiveNation.com)- On Friday, dozens of people were injured as police in Lima clashed with protesters in anti-government demonstrations that have been spreading throughout Peru over the last five weeks, Reuters reported.
Peru has been rocked by violent protests since December 7 after Congress removed President Pedro Castillo from office and replaced him with Vice President Dina Boluarte.
Castillo had been accused in several corruption investigations and had previously avoided two impeachments by Peru’s opposition-led legislature. Before the December 7 impeachment, Castillo attempted to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, prompting the constitutional court to call his announcement a coup d’etat. Congress immediately voted to replace him, making Boluarte Peru’s sixth president in five years.
Over the last month, the raucous protests have led to the worst violence Peru has seen in over twenty years. In recent weeks, Peruvian security forces have been accused of using excessive force, including firearms, to bring the riots under control.
Last week, the Boluarte government extended a state of emergency in Lima and the southern regions of Puno and Cusco, curtailing man civil rights.
At least 54 people have been killed since the protests began while another 772, including security forces and civilians, have been injured.
CNN reported on Friday that autopsies on 17 dead civilians found wounds consistent with firearm projectiles.
On Thursday, police estimated about 3,500 people, mostly from the country’s indigenous south, were marching on Lima, according to Reuters. During the rioting, one of Lima’s most historic buildings was burned to the ground.
The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Boluarte as well as snap elections and a new constitution.
During Thursday’s unrest in Lima, embattled President Boluarte vowed that “all the rigor of the law” would fall on those “who have acted with vandalism.”
Boluarte said the situation in Peru was “under control” and called for dialogue. She also asked for “forgiveness” for protesters killed by security forces but dismissed calls for her resignation.
Pedro Castillo is being held in pre-trial detention facing charges of rebellion.