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Peruvians rally to call for president's resignation, clash with police

Demonstrators block a highway to Lima while demanding early elections and the release of ousted Peruvian leader Pedro Castillo, in Ica, Peru Jan. 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Peruvians have clashed with police after taking to the streets to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and reinstatement of Pedro Castillo who was ousted in December. 

Police used tear gas to disperse protesters who allegedly attempted to take over an airport near Peru's border on Friday. 

Protests against Boluarte resumed this week after a two-week pause, following clashes in December that left 22 dead after the removal and arrest of former
President Castillo.

Local news outlets reported 15 injured in Friday clashes, including two policemen. In December, protesters forced the temporary closure of three airports in Peru.

Demonstrators demand Boluarte's resignation, the closure of congress, constitutional changes and Castillo's release. 

The former president has been held in pre-trial detention for 18 months. He is accused of "rebellion" after trying to close congress, a charge he denies.

Peru has been in turmoil ever since Castillo was removed from office in what his supporters characterize as a coup. 

Almost two dozen people have been killed in protests since last month. According to human rights groups, security forces have used deadly firearms and have launched smoke bombs on protesters.

Bolivia's former President Evo Morales, a supporter of Castillo who was ousted in similar circumstances, lashed out at Boluarte and violence at protests on Thursday and called for "deep transformation".

"Please stop the massacres, illegal detentions, persecution and accusations of terrorism against our indigenous brothers and sisters," said Morales who visited Peru several times during Castillo's term. 

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