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happening in Peru

Peru's interim president steps down after 5 days

On Tuesday, Manuel Merino became the interim president of Peru, and on Sunday, he stepped down, following days of unrest and the deaths of two protesters.

Last Monday, legislators removed President Martin Vizcarra from office, accusing him of having "moral incapacity" and alleging that he accepted bribes while serving as a governor; Vizcarra denied the claim. Vizcarra served as president for two years, and ran on a platform of fighting corruption. Half of the lawmakers serving in Peru's legislature are now being investigated or under indictment for everything from money laundering to homicide, NPR reports.

Merino had been the head of Congress, and when he became interim president, he faced pushback from citizens who believed he was only there because of a coup. Merino called for unity and urged people to vote in April's presidential election, but protesters quickly filled the streets for Peru's biggest demonstrations in decades, NPR reports. In addition to two protesters who were killed by police on Saturday, more than 100 demonstrators have been injured and several dozen are missing.

By Sunday, most of Merino's Cabinet had resigned and Congress asked him to leave office. The next president will be Peru's fifth in five years. On Twitter, Vizcarra said he deeply regretted that protesters had been killed, saying their deaths were due to "the repression of this illegal and illegitimate government." He also shared his condolences to "the relatives of these civil heroes who, exercising their right, came out in defense of democracy and in search of a better country."