Lima, Mar 4 (EFE).- The Peruvian defense and interior ministries on Saturday strongly condemned an attack by anti-government protesters on a police station in the Juli district – situated in the southern Puno region – in which the facility was set on fire, adding that 27 people had been wounded in clashes in the city.
In a joint statement, the ministries said that “approximately 300 extremists” attacked the Juli police station with stones and other heavy objects for hours, despite officials’ attempts to hold a dialog with the protesters.
The personnel tried to repel the attack but were outnumbered by the aggressors, who set on fire various structures of the police station with Molotov cocktails, the statement added.
At least 10 police officers were injured in an attach, who were airlifted, while seven civilians were being treated at the Rafael Ortiz Ravines hospital.
The ministries said that another group simultaneously attacked the Juli military base, temporarily housed in a hotel, and as a result 10 military officers were wounded with bruises and cuts on their heads and arms. Another “attack” was reported from the local judiciary headquarters, in which official vehicles were set on fire.
“Violence against state premises, as well as against police and military service personnel inside them, has no justification whatsoever,” due to which probes have been launched to identify those responsible and initiate adequate legal proceedings, the government said.
In the Puno region, which includes Juli, road-blockades and shutdown of several activities been continued by locals since January demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
Authorities’ suppression of the protests triggered violence in which 18 people were killed in the neighboring city of Juliaca.
This week a delegation of Juliaca residents visited Lima to reiterate their demand of early elections, but the police fired teargas against a group of women carrying small children were, which unnerved their companions.
The public prosecutors have urged calm and a stop to violence in Juli, and said they would investigate Saturday’s acts of violence and the causes of injured to the wounded.
The provincial mayor of Chucuito-Juli, Victor Raul Anchapuri, urged the government and the security forces to not attack the people and “not use firearms or other objects that could wound the struggling people” in a statement on social media, after reports that one of the protesters received a bullet injury on his arm.
In Lima, a dissidents’ march in the capital had to disperse into several groups because the police blocked it from advancing towards the Congress and the Government Palace by using teargas against the demonstrators, most of whom had arrived from the southern regions of Puno and Apurimac.
Since December, when widespread protests broke out after the arrest of former president Pedro Castillo following his attempt to dissolve the Congress, at least 70 people have been killed in protests and clashes. EFE