Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo has dismissed allegations of conspiracy and rebellion amid ongoing protests by his supporters that have seen at least six killed, a news report claimed. Mr Castillo was impeached and arrested on December 7 after he announced plans to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government ahead of a looming impeachment vote by lawmakers.
Supreme Court Judge Cesar San Martin Castro’s decision to reject Mr Castillo’s appeal against his seven-day detention order on Tuesday could further inflame the ongoing political crisis, as demonstrators have demanded Mr Castillo’s freedom and called for his successor, former Vice President Dina Boluarte, to step down.
During the hearing, Mr Castillo told Mr San Martin: “I have never committed the crime of conspiracy or rebellion” and described his detention as arbitrary and unjust.
Dressed in a blue jacket and sitting next to his lawyer Ronald Atencio, Mr Castillo also said: “I will never resign and abandon this popular cause.
From here I want to urge the Armed Forces and the National Police to lay down their arms and stop killing these people thirsty for justice. Tomorrow at 1:42 p.m. I want my people to join me.”
Dina Boluarte, his former vice president, has since become president.
On Monday, Ms Boluarte proposed bringing general elections forward two years to April 2024 during a televised speech.
Several protests erupted in Peru since last week in support of Mr Castillo, sometimes marked by clashes with Peru’s security forces.
Peru’s ombudsman’s press office said on Tuesday said that at least six people have died in the demonstrations, including two minors.
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Peru’s Health Ministry tweeted that at least 47 individuals were hospitalized as a result of protests in the cities of Lima, Apurímac, Huancavelica and Arequipa.
Demonstrators have called for a general election, the dissolution of Congress, and the creation of a new constituent assembly, according to the radio and television broadcaster Radio Programas del Perú.
Ms Boluarte on Tuesday called for calm to be restored to the country, and said that she had instructed police not to use any lethal arms against protesters.
She added: “Everyone has the right to protest but not to commit vandalism, burn hospitals, ambulances, police stations, assault airports, (these) are not normal protests, we have reached the extreme.”
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Trains to and from Machu Picchu will be suspended from Tuesday due to Peru’s protests, railway operator PeruRail said in a statement.
The statement read: “We regret the inconvenience that these announcements generate for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond the control of our company and seek to prioritize the safety of passengers and workers.”