Peru's Army intervenes to unblock roads
Clashes between demonstrators and Peruvian authorities continue to grow more violent.
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Warning that "blocking communication routes is a crime,” and pointing out that "to date 10 Peruvians have died because their ambulances or vehicles were stranded by obstacles and roadblocks,” the Peru's Interior and Defense ministries warned that they will use all of the necessary force to regain control of national highways that have been declared in a state of emergency with the support of the Armed Forces and the National Police.
“The right to protest does not authorize the obstruction of the roads, much less can it overlap with the right to life of those people who need to be transferred to receive delicate treatments such as cancer, or who need oxygen and medicine to reach their regions to continue living," reads the joint statement of the ministries.
Bloquear vías de comunicación es un delito. Hasta la fecha, 10 peruanos han muerto porque sus ambulancias o vehículos quedaron varados por obstáculos y tomas de carreteras. La @PoliciaPeru y las FF. AA. procederán de acuerdo a ley para garantizar los derechos de todos. pic.twitter.com/m9efkW5kI4— Ministerio del Interior (@MininterPeru) January 27, 2023
Deadly road closures
The protests, which are close to hitting two months in Peru, have caused blockades on different highways of the national road network — the most recent report from the Ombudsman released on Thursday, Jan. 26, highlighted figures from the Superintendence of Land Transportation of People, Cargo and Goods (Sutrán), and indicated that 88 roads were blocked.
In addition to the 10 people reported dead as a result of the road closures and traffic accidents, 46 civilians and a police officer have died amid the clashes, for a total of 57 deaths so far from the protests.
“The road blockade has also caused shortages and increases in the prices of basic food and fuel, and even in some regions it is putting the supply of drinking water at risk, which mainly affects the poorest Peruvians,” added the statement from the ministries.
The Army arrives in Puno
The Peruvian Armed Forces made a show of force in the department of Puno, near the border with Bolivia and the epicenter of the anti-government protests.
The soldiers and armored vehicles mobilized from the Moquegua and Tacna bases to the Manco Capac Barracks in Puno, a region that has seen 21 fatalities in the protests.
According to the EFE, the military cleared the stones, earth and rubble that prevented passage on the Laraqueri highway, near the city of Puno, before the eyes of residents of the area.
"We call on those who persist in these illegal measures to desist from it, allow the peaceful unblocking of the roads and avoid confrontations with the forces of order that will act in defense of legality," the statement closes.