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    At least 17 dead in latest Peru clashes

    LIMA (AFP) – At least 17 people died yesterday in Peru as protesters trying to storm an airport clashed with security forces in the latest violent spasm of a month-old political crisis.

    This new chapter of bloodshed took place in the southeastern city of Juliaca, in the Puno region, an official in the local ombudsman’s office told AFP.

    The previous death toll of 12 rose as five people among the 40 or so wounded in the clashes died of their injuries, the official said.

    Like others have for the past month, these protesters were demanding the departure of President Dina Boluarte, who took over after the ouster and arrest of then president Pedro Castillo on December 7.

    Castillo’s removal after he tried to dissolve congress and start ruling by decree, he faced several corruption probes, has triggered weeks of clashes nationwide in this country beset by years of political instability. Protesters angry over the removal of the leftist Castillo want Boluarte to resign and new elections right away.

    Riot police clash with anti-government protesters in Puno, Peru. PHOTO: AFP

    They have already been moved up from 2026 to April of 2024.

    Overall, with these new fatalities, the clashes sparked by the ouster of Castillo have now left 39 people dead around the country.

    The people killed yesterday in Juliaca had gunshot wounds, an official at Calos Monge Hospital told a Peruvian TV channel.

    “The police are shooting at us,” one demonstrator who declined to give his name told AFP.

    The new president’s chief of staff Alberto Otarola, said thousands of protesters had approached the airport yesterday and around 2,000 of them attacked police while trying to storm the facility with makeshift weapons and gun powder.

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