Peru’s top prosecutor launches inquiry into president and top ministers after deadly protests | CNN


Peru’s top prosecutor’s office launched an inquiry Tuesday into new President Dina Boluarte and senior cabinet ministers over deadly clashes that have swept the country following the ouster of former President Pedro Castillo.

The new government, however, won a vote of confidence in Congress by a wide margin Tuesday evening. A loss would have triggered a cabinet reshuffle and the resignation of Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.

The inquiry comes after at least 18 people died since Monday night during demonstrations in the southern Puno region, including a Peruvian policeman who was burned to death by protesters.

Police confirmed to CNN Espanol Tuesday that Peruvian officer Jose Luis Soncco Quispe died on Monday night after being burned while patrolling in Puno.

Police say they were attacked by “unknown subjects.”

Security forces pictured on January 4, 2023 stand next to debris left by protesters attempting to take control of the Peruvian Andean city of Arequipa.

Forty seven people have died since the protests erupted in December after Castillo was ejected from the premiership, according to the ombudsman’s office.

“We regret the sensitive death of José Luis Soncco Quispe. We extend our condolences to his closest family and friends. Rest in peace, brother policeman!” Peruvian National Police wrote on Twitter.

A curfew will be in place from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time “to safeguard the life, integrity and freedom of citizens” following the conflicts in Puno, the Council of Ministers tweeted Tuesday.

The attorney general’s office said it was investigating Boluarte, Otarola, Defense Minister Jorge Chavez and Interior Minister Victor Rojas on charges of “genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries,” Reuters reported.

Human rights groups say authorities have used firearms on protesters and dropped smoke bombs from helicopters, the agency added. The army says protesters have used weapons and homemade explosives.

The attorney general’s office also said it would investigate former Prime Minister Pedro Angulo and former Interior Minister Cesar Cervantes, both of whom served under Boluarte for just a few weeks, for their involvement in handling the protests.

The president’s and ministers’ offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Protests in Peru calling for the resignation of the current government, led by Dina Boularte after the ouster of President Pedro Castillo, have led to fatal clashes between demonstrators and police.

Protesters are demanding the resignation of Boluarte, the dissolution of Congress, changes to the constitution and Castillo’s release.

The vote of confidence, a constitutional requirement after a new prime minister takes office, passed with 73 votes in favor, 43 against and six abstentions.

Otarola has blamed organized attackers financed by “dark” money for those killed on Monday. Another 68 civilians and 75 police officers were reported injured.

Otarola also announced a three-day overnight curfew in Puno, aimed at quelling the violence. Footage from local media showed looting of Puno businesses on Monday night, while the airport in the region’s city of Juliaca remained shut on Tuesday after 9,000 people were said to have attempted to invade the premises.

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