Police in Lima fire tear gas at demonstrators

Peru: President Boluarte must order security forces to respect right to protest

In response to social organizations throughout Peru announcing for new demonstrations in Lima, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“Amnesty International calls on Peru’s president Dina Boluarte and her ministers to send a clear message to security forces throughout the country that it is their duty to facilitate and protect the right to peaceful protest, and that excessive use of force against demonstrators will not be tolerated. The police and the military have repeatedly used force unlawfully in recent months, costing the lives of dozens of people. These horrific scenes of state repression must not be repeated. The authorities must ensure that bullets and lead pellets are never used in response to protests, and that law enforcement agents only resort to using teargas in completely exceptional cases, when strictly necessary in order to pursue a legitimate aim, in a legal and proportionate manner.”

Thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest in recent months. The authorities responded with lethal force and excessive use of less lethal force, aimed at silencing and punishing demonstrators, particularly those from Indigenous and campesino communities. Between December 2022 and February 2023, 49 protesters lost their lives, 11 people died in the context of roadblocks and hundreds of people were injured.

These horrific scenes of state repression must not be repeated

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

Amnesty International published a report in May documenting 25 of these deaths and concluded that 20 of them likely constitute extrajudicial executions. So far, no public official has been charged in relation to the crimes committed.

Marina Navarro, executive director of Amnesty International Peru, said: “Everyone should feel free to make their voice heard. Peru’s authorities must guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and refrain from spreading disinformation or stigmatizing those who choose to exercise these rights. There must be no more people killed or injured during the demonstrations.”

No one should die in the context of state repression or for going out to protest. The organization reiterates to the Peruvian authorities that the use of public force must be proportional and necessary, including the use of tear gas, which was used excessively, unnecessarily, and illegitimately during recent demonstrations in Peru.