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LATIN AMERICA | 14-02-2023 13:41

Peru investigating security force role in protest deaths

Peruvian prosecutors investigating whether security forces were to blame for the deaths of several protesters during anti-government demonstrations in December.

Peruvian prosecutors said Monday they are investigating whether security forces were to blame for the deaths of several protesters during anti-government demonstrations in December.

Peru has been engulfed in relentless, sometimes violent protests following the removal from office of leftist President Pedro Castillo on December 7.

According to the country's ombudsman, at least eight people, including a minor, died in the city of Ayacucho, some 560 kilometres (350 miles) southeast of Lima, in clashes with security forces on December 15.

The prosecutor's office said Monday the investigation, led by a special human rights unit in Ayacucho, is targeting police personnel, the army and those "responsible for allegedly committing the crimes of manslaughter and injuries," according to a statement. 

"The specialised provincial prosecutor's office has been carrying out its investigation in accordance with the required legal standards," said the National Prosecutor's Office. 

Protests turned violent in Ayacucho when a group of demonstrators tried to take over facilities at the local airport. 

Local media outlet IDL Reporters said soldiers armed with assault rifles shot and killed six unarmed protesters after they had already been evicted from the airport. 

The prosecutor's office said it has obtained nearly 150 videos, collected medical documents, conducted autopsies and interviewed survivors and witnesses as part of the probe.

Protests in Peru, which erupted a day after the president took office on December 7, have left 48 civilians and a police officer dead.

 

–– TIMES/AFP

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