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January 19, 2023 (BBC) — At least three more people are reported to have died amid protests against Peru’s President Dina Boluarte.
Dozens of lives have been lost during weeks of demonstrations after former leader Pedro Castillo was ousted.
Police used tear gas to disperse crowds in the capital Lima, where thousands of protesters from rural areas have spent days converging.
A woman died in the southern town of Macusani, where a police station is reported to have been set on fire.
The 35-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital without any vital signs, according to emergency services.
Separately, Peru’s human rights watchdog reported two further deaths as a result of blockades in the northern La Libertad region.
In a tweet, it said a 51-year-old woman had died, and that “a teenager lost her baby”.
The deaths come ahead of a large-scale protest planned for Thursday afternoon in the capital.
Journalist Neil Giardino told the BBC that “anger indignation made its way to Lima” as thousands of indigenous people from the highlands descended on the capital.
A driver from the city of Cusco, in south-eastern Peru, who travelled to Lima to join the protests, said that “every day more people from the south are arriving to force the state to respect our rights.”
“There’s so much pain – young people have died, fathers with two and three children have died, women have been made widows,” the man said.
“Our military and police, rather than defending us, are killing us. It hurts so much. How can they kill us for rising up to defend our country? We’ve never robbed our country. We only want to improve our lives to build a better country.”
Demonstrators want Ms Boluarte to step aside and call fresh elections, and for Mr Castillo, her left-wing predecessor, to be released from custody.
The governors of the southern Puno, Cusco and Apurimac regions have also called for the president’s resignation.
The country has been through years of political turmoil, which came to a head when Mr Castillo was arrested last month for trying to dissolve Congress.
He is being investigated on charges of rebellion and conspiracy. He denies all the accusations, insisting that he is still the country’s legitimate president.
Ms Boluarte has resisted calls to step down and issued a call earlier this week to Peruvians to ensure their protests were peaceful.