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17 dead after bloody day of protests in Peru



At least 17 people died on Monday in southern Peru during clashes between police and demonstrators demanding the call for new elections and the release of ousted former president Pedro Castillo.


The deaths occurred near the airport of the city of Juliaca, located in the department of Puno.


Initially, the Peruvian Ombudsman's Office reported 9 deaths, a figure that was later increased to 17.


These deaths increased to 39 the number of deaths during the protests unleashed in Peru since the dismissal and arrest of Castillo, who is currently in prison under a preventive detention order for 18 months while he faces trial for the crime of rebellion.


In addition, according to official data, since the beginning of the wave of protests another seven people have died in traffic accidents linked to blockades during the demonstrations.


In a statement offered Monday night, the Prime Minister, Alberto Otárola, regretted the deaths that occurred in Puno, but highlighted that some 2,000 demonstrators tried to take over the Juliaca airport, for which they attacked the police and the Armed Forces.


"It was an organized, systematic attack of vandalism and violent activities against institutions in Puno," he said.


Otárola announced that this Tuesday a high-level delegation will travel to Puno to dialogue with the protesters.


The dismissal of Pedro Castillo raised a wave of protests that calmed down during the festive weeks of December, but restarted after the New Year.


Among their demands, the protesters also demand the resignation of the new president, Dina Boluarte, the closure of Congress and changes to the Constitution.

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