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Peru's president rejects calls to step down despite raging protests

Peru's President Dina Boluarte speaks during a press conference after the culmination of a ministerial staff meeting at the Government Palace in Lima on January 5, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Peruvian president Dina Boluarte says she will not step down, after another day of protests and roadblocks throughout the country saw calls for her resignation.

“Some voices coming from the violent and radical groups demand my resignation, bringing people to chaos, disorder, and destruction. I say to them responsibly that I will not step down,” Boluarte said.

Peru have been hit by back-to-back protests ever since former president Pedro Castillo was ousted and detained in early December.

At least 42 people have been killed as security forces have clashed with protesters, while hundreds more have been injured.

Peru's attorney general, Patricia Benavides, launched 11 inquiries to identify those responsible for the deaths of mostly civilians, her office said on Friday.

On Thursday, authorities closed air and rail links to Peru's famed Machu Picchu tourist site for the second time as protests flared up leading to clashes with police.

Several regional governors and professional associations, including lawyers and teachers, joined the calls for Boluarte to resign.

"How many more deaths will Dina Boluarte's presence in the presidency cost?" asked Puno governor Richard Hancco, whose southern department has become the epicenter of clashes between protesters and security forces.

The office of Benavides announced that the investigations focused on violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the heavily indigenous southern regions of Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, Apurimac and Ucayali, as well as the capital Lima.

Human rights groups accuse police and soldiers of using excessive force, including live ammunition and dropping tear gas from helicopters.

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