On Saturday, February 4, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the centre of Lima for the so-called March of the Cones, which brought together demonstrators from the south of the country and demonstrators from the suburbs of the city of Lima. The demand for early elections was felt even more strongly after the Congress of the Republic shelved four bills that sought to bring forward the general elections, and even voted not to return to the issue in this legislature.
Legislators do not want to leave
The congressmen also refused to debate a legislative initiative presented by the Executive, which proposed presidential and congressional elections for October of this year; appealing to article 78 of the congressional rules of procedure, which prevents debate on the same proposal (although there are precedents of exceptions in this respect). The debate on the new elections can only be incorporated into the next legislature.
This political move leaves the resignation of President Dina Boluarte as the only alternative to the crisis. However, she has repeatedly stated that she will not resign. Furthermore, if she were to resign, the president of Congress, José Williams Zapata, would legally take over, a fact that is also rejected by the population, which is expected to further inflame tensions.
Faced with the Congress members’ agreement to stay in power, citizens have taken to the streets and 72 blockades of national roads and 22 blockades in different provinces of the country have been reported (1); there have also been demonstrations in six provinces.
New demonstrations have also been announced for Monday 6 February in Ayacucho, Thursday 9 February in metropolitan Lima and Arequipa, and in the northern macro-region between 17 and 20 February (2).
The social climate is one of tense calm between the authorities and the population. On the one hand, the media report on the economic and material losses caused by the protests and, on the other, both human rights organisations and the alternative press report arbitrary arrests and excessive use of force. The Ombudsman’s Office has officially reported 59 deaths, 1,229 people dead and 580 police injured.
The following is a video report by CONPYMAP (Coordinadora de Prensa Popular y Medios Alternativos) to whom we thank for their collaboration:
(1) Source: Ombudsman’s Office. Daily Report as of February 5, 2023. https://www.defensoria.gob.pe/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/ReporteDiario522023_13-horas.pdf
(2) Source: Servindi. https://www.servindi.org/actualidad-noticias/04/02/2023/aparente-calma-en-los-medios-pero-crece-movilizacion-en-las-calles