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Peruvian police fire tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters in capital

Peruvian demonstrators rally in the capital Lima on January 23, 2023.

Peru's riot police have fired tear gas canisters to disperse anti-government protesters demanding ouster of President Dina Boluarte and return of her predecessor Pedro Castillo, as violent protests rage on in the capital.

The law enforcement forces clashed with the protesters, who had gathered in central Lima in their hundreds shouting "Dina murderer," on Monday.

At least 46 people have died during similar protests since last month, when rampant demonstrations started to sweep over the country.

The new protests came as Interior Minister Vicente Romero said there was no end in sight to the protests in the foreseeable future.

"The social protests will continue. We are working intensively with the defense ministry to resolve them," he told the state TV Peru channel.

Another mass rally has been planned for Tuesday, although authorities have declared a state of emergency across six regions throughout the country.

The protests began after Castillo was ousted and arrested over his attempt to dissolve the parliament and rule by decree. The former head of state, whom the nation's indigenous population identifies as its flag-bearer and voice, has been charged with rebellion among other offenses.

Castillo's supporters have kept up regular protests and roadblocks throughout the country, even at times attempting to storm airports. On Monday, there were still more than 80 blocked roads in eight of Peru's 25 regions.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu has been closed since Saturday as train services to the popular tourist site -- the only way to reach it other than on foot -- have been suspended for several days. More than 400 stranded tourists had to be evacuated from Machu Picchu over the weekend.

The airports in the southern cities of Arequipa and Juliaca remain closed.

Authorities have been blaming drug traffickers and illegal miners for being behind the rallies.

"Right now, we're experiencing one of the highest levels of violence in recent times, since the 1980s" when authorities were battling left-wing Shining Path guerrillas, said Romero.

He once again blamed a "faceless" group for financing protests, in which he alleged 540 police officers have been injured.

The protesters have been pressing on with their demands for resignation of Boluarte, closure of Congress, and new elections.

Boluarte has only agreed with moving the elections forwards, claiming that the rest of the protesters' demands served as a pretext for continued chaos in the country.

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