Peru: Two cabinet ministers step down amid protests over ouster of ex-president Castillo

Two Peru ministers have stepped down following the deaths that resulted from the protest triggered by the ousting of former president Pedro Castillo last week.

Education Minister Patricia Correa and Culture Minister Jair Perez both made the announcement on Friday, citing the protest deaths.

“This morning I presented my letter of resignation from the position of education minister. The death of compatriots has no justification. State violence cannot be disproportionate and cause death,” Correa said.

The agitation remained in full swing on Friday despite a nationwide state of emergency being declared on Wednesday. So far, at least 16 people have been killed, of which half were from Thursday during clashes with security forces in Ayacucho town. 

The protesters have been calling for the dissolution of the new government under recently elected president Dina Boluarte and early elections.

On Friday, Peru’s national assembly, the Congress, rejected a proposed constitutional reform that would have brought presidential elections forward to December 2023, one of the key demands of the protesters.

Massive protests across Peru over ex-President Castillo’s arrest; tourists stranded in Machu Picchu

The resignation of two cabinet ministers has raised doubts on the longevity of the new government led by Boluarte, the former vice president, who was sworn in on December 7 after Castillo was removed from office by a congressional vote hours after he attempted to dissolve Congress.

Castillo is facing six corruption investigations and was on the verge of seeing his third impeachment attempt. The former president has rejected the allegations.

The former president is in pretrial detention for up to 18 months as the Supreme Court-led investigation looks into charges of “rebellion and conspiracy.”

Meanwhile, the people-led agitation has severely crimpled the country’s tourism industry. The mayor of Cusco told AFP news agency that around 5,000 tourists are stranded in the city after the airport there closed when protesters tried to storm the terminal.

(With inputs from agencies)

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