Massive protests erupted in Peru after an illegitimate government took power on 9 November. In country with more that 34 000 deaths from Covid-19, people went out in the streets. Despite the civil society and UN calls to control the violence enforced by the police against the protestors, de facto authorities congratulate the police violent interventions perpetrated in November 12. The brutal police repressions ended with the lives of two young protestors in the night of November 14 in Lima. As a result of the protests many protestors, many of them young university students, are facing serious injuries, including damage in the spinal cord, loss of eye, brain injuries, broken bones. The police brutality has stolen their future and dreams.
The protest forced de facto government, led by Manuel Merino to resign on November 15. After this, the same Congressmen that carried out an impeachment against President Martin Vizcarra, was forced to elect a new president, a consensus one, from the minority group of congressmen that did not support the impeachment. As a result, Francisco Sagasti, from Purple Party (Partido Morado) become the new President, that will be in power till July 28, when a new government will take power.
Francisco Sagasti must lead a transition to a new government in a country with an ongoing sanitary, economic and political crisis. With more than 950,000 COVID 19 confirmed cases and 35,000 fatalities, Peru is among the countries with the highest COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as globally. Besides, the disease has destroyed employment (around 6 million has lost their jobs), and sent more people to informal employment (74% of the population).
What this renewed crisis reflects? Why the protests outbreak happened now and how it became one of the largest in Peru history? A panel discussion with Omar Coronel (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú) and Gisselle Vila Benites (University of Melbourne). Chaired by Camila Gianella (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Law Transform).
Camila Gianella Malca: Doctor in Psychology from the University of Bergen, Norway. She has a Master’s degree in International Health (Charité Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Berlin) and a degree in Psychology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, where she currently works as Executive Director of CISEPA (Center for Sociological, Economic, Political and Anthropological Research), and as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Gianella is also a Researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, and a Global Fellow at the Center for Law and Social Transformation. Her areas of work include health rights, sexual and reproductive rights, tuberculosis, as well as the impact of legal mobilization.
Omar Coronel is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He has a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and he’s currently a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the same university. He specializes in comparative politics with a regional focus in Latin America. His research interests include social movements, protests, political violence, and civil society.
Gisselle Vila Benites is a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Melbourne, IFEA Scholar (French Institue of Andean Studies), and Adjunct Researcher at the Center for Mining and Sustainability (Pacifico University). Previously, she lectured at the School of Social Sciences at PUCP. Her research focuses on the political ecology of natural resource governance in Latin America, with particular attention to mining and elite power in Peru and Colombia. She is also a member of the feminist political ecology collective Eco – Razonar.
Photo by Sebastián Castañeda.