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Detained Peruvian ex-president says he will ‘never give up’

#Detained #Peruvian #expresident #give

Former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo, who was removed from office and arrested last week on charges of rebellion and conspiracy, insisted Tuesday he would “never give up” his cause.

Castillo also called on police and the military to “stop killing” protesters demanding his release and reinstatement, after violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators left seven people dead in recent days.

“I will never give up and abandon this popular cause that brought me here,” the leftist Castillo said during a court hearing.

“From here I would like to urge the armed forces and national police to lay down their arms and stop killing these people thirsty for justice.

He said his arrest was unjust and arbitrary.

“I am not a thief, a rapist, corrupt or a thug,” he added during the virtual hearing into his appeal against provisional detention.

Castillo was arrested last Wednesday after he attempted to dissolve congress and rule by decree just hours before the legislature was due to hold a third impeachment vote against him. Castillo and his family were being investigated for alleged corruption.

Congress went ahead with its vote and overwhelmingly decided to impeach him for “moral incapacity.”

He was provisionally detained for seven days as prosecutors accused him of rebellion and conspiracy.

Within a matter of hours his vice-president Dina Boluarte, a former prosecutor, was sworn in as Castillo’s successor.

However, Castillo’s supporters began protesting almost immediately, with matters escalating on Sunday when two people were killed in clashes between demonstrators and the security forces.

Another five people died on Monday in more violent clashes.

Six of the seven dead have been in Apurmiac region, where Boluarte was born.

The other death happened in Peru’s second largest city Arequipa as police cleared hundreds of protesters from the runway at the city’s airport where they had set up barricades of burning tires, logs and rocks.

Boluarte tried to calm tensions on Sunday by vowing to bring forward elections from 2026 to 2024 and declaring a state of emergency in flashpoint areas.

Protests continued on Tuesday with road blocks in 13 of the country’s 24 regions, according to police.

The worst hit areas are in the north and the south, including the region of Cusco, a hotspot for tourism in the country as it is home to the Machu Picchu Inca citadel, and Arequipa.

Indigenous and agrarian organizations have also called an indefinite strike to begin on Tuesday.

That forced the train service between the city of Cusco and Machu Picchu to be suspended, the rail operator said.

Cusco airport was also shut overnight due to attempts by protesters to get inside.

The situation in Lima was calm on Tuesday morning following clashes on Monday night in which police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to reach the congress building.

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