Dozens of Peruvians were injured when tensions flared again Friday night as police clashed with protesters in anti-government demonstrations that are spreading across the country.
And television footage showed in the capital, Lima, that police officers used tear gas to repel protesters who threw bottles and stones, while fires raged in the streets.
In the southern region of Puno, about 1,500 protesters attacked a police station in the town of Elaf, Interior Minister Vicente Romero said. He said a police station in Zebeta, Puno, caught fire.
Health authorities in Elaf reported that eight patients were taken to hospital with injuries, including broken arms and legs, eye bruises, and a punctured abdomen.
By late afternoon, 58 people had been injured across the country in the demonstrations, according to a report by Peru’s Ombudsman.
Troubles followed Troubled day on Thursdaywhen one of Lima’s most historic buildings was burned to the ground, with President Dina Boulwart vowing to get tougher on “vandals”.
Officials described the destruction of the building, a nearly century-old mansion in central Lima, as the loss of a “huge asset.” The authorities are investigating the reasons.
Romero claimed on Friday that the fire was “duly planned and arranged”.
Thousands of demonstrators descended on Lima this week demanding change and angry at the rising death toll from the protests, which officially reached 45 on Friday.
At the start of Friday’s protests, demonstrators appeared more organized than the day before and took control of the main avenues in downtown Lima.
The police appeared more combative than the day before and after standing guard over the protesters who were blocked in the streets of the city centre, began firing volleys of tear gas.
Peru has been rocked by protests since Pedro Castillo was ousted as president in December after he tried to dissolve the legislature to prevent an impeachment vote.
Bulwart rejected calls for her to resign and hold early elections, instead calling for dialogue and promising to punish those involved in the unrest.
In the Cusco region, Glencore’s main Antapaccay copper mine suspended operations on Friday after protesters attacked the building – one of the largest in the country – for the third time this month.
With Reuters and Associated Press
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