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42 killed in Peru’s ongoing political protests

Lima: A total of 41 civilians and one police officer have died during nationwide clashes between supporters of former President Pedro Castillo and security forces in Peru that have lasted more than a month, the Attorney General’s Office said.

In the wave of protests, especially in the southern region, 531 people were injured, including 355 civilians and 176 National Police agents, while 329 people have been arrested, the office said in a statement.

The political unrest in the South American country began following the impeachment and arrest of the left-wing president on Dec. 7 and the swearing-in of Vice President Dina Boluarte to replace Castillo.

Castillo’s supporters asked Boluarte to resign and demanded the release of Castillo as well as early presidential and congressional elections.

On Dec. 14, the new president declared a nationwide 30-day state of emergency to stem the violence.

In Ayacucho, one of the regions hit the hardest in December, police arrested Rocio Leandro Melgar, president of the Ayacucho People’s Defense Front on Thursday night. Melgar is under investigation for violent acts, the statement said.

The Attorney General’s Office added that it has opened eight investigations into the deaths to determine responsibility.

UNI/XINHUA