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crisis in peru

State of emergency declared in Peru amid ongoing protests

A national state of emergency was declared in Peru on Wednesday, one week after former President Pedro Castillo was arrested after being impeached.

Peru's defense minister, Alberto Otárola, announced the emergency measure, which suspends the rights of assembly and freedom of transit for 30 days. He said it will be enforced by the national police force, with the support of the military.

On Dec. 7, Castillo tried to dissolve Congress before it could hold his impeachment trial, a move that opponents and some allies saw as a coup attempt. Congress voted to impeach Castillo, who faced allegations of corruption, and he was later arrested after being accused of "rebellion" for breaking the constitutional order. His vice president, Dina Boluarte, was sworn in as president that same day.

Since then, supporters of Castillo have been taking to the streets, calling his removal illegitimate. Demonstrators have targeted police stations, factories, airports, and courthouses, The New York Times reports, with at least five protesters dying after things turned violent. Protesters in Cusco have blocked roads, shutting down Machu Picchu and other tourism sites and leaving about 3,000 foreign visitors stranded, regional governor Jean Paul Benavente said. The Times says the protests are backed by Peru's largest federation of labor unions, the largest association of Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, and several organizations that represent poor farmers.

Castillo was a teacher and union activist before becoming president, and grew up in a poor, rural area. His supporters say he was never given a chance by the political elite to truly lead, and the governments of Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Mexico issued a statement on Monday calling Castillo the "victim of undemocratic harassment."