Protesters take over the Pan-American highway in the Northern Cone of Arequipa Protesters take over the Pan-American highway in the Northern Cone of Arequipa  (AFP or licensors)

Peru's Bishops on anti-government protests: 'Violence is not the solution'

As Peru faces continuous unrest amid anti-government protests, the country's Catholic Bishops appeal for the situation to be dealt with peacefully, never resorting to violence.

By Francesca Merlo

At least 7 people have been killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Peru.

Unrest intensified on Monday when supporters of former president Pedro Castillo, angry at his impeachment and arrest, blocked roads and stormed the international airport in Peru’s second city – Arequipa.

Bridges for dialogue

In light of most recent events, which took place on the solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all the Americas, the Bishops of Peru have made an “urgent appeal” to build bridges of dialogue.

They call for those in charge to deal with the situation appropriately without resorting to violence.

Peru’s Bishops also pray for the families of the protesters who have died.

In response to the protests

Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s successor and former deputy, proposed bringing general elections forward by two years to April 2024 in response to the protests.

Mr Castillo called Ms Boluarte's plans a "dirty game". He was accused of corruption and detained for attempting to dissolve the opposition-controlled Congress, just hours before it was due to vote on his impeachment.

Safeguard Peruvians

The Peruvian Bishops continue their statement by asking that the forces of law and order, especially the Peruvian National Police, “act within the framework of the law, safeguarding the integrity of the people.”

Addressing the political class, the Bishops ask that all be concerned about institutionality, democratic order, due process and the common good of all Peruvians, especially the most unprotected.

“We cannot afford the luxury of misgovernment in our country,” state the Bishops.

Violence is not the solution

As the unrest worsens day by day, the Bishops stress that “our beloved country must not continue in anxiety, fear and uncertainty”, and that “sincere dialogue” is necessary, along with calm tempers “in order to protect our weak Democracy, to maintain the fraternity of our people."

“Violence is not the solution to the crisis or to the differences. No more violence, no more deaths,” the Bishops concluded. “Peru must be our priority!”

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13 December 2022, 10:54