Peruvian government endures new wave of social protests

Peruvian police officers patrol on horseback during the 72-hour national strike while young girls look on in Lima, July 8, 2009.

Peruvian police officers patrol on horseback during the 72-hour national strike while young girls look on in Lima, July 8, 2009.

Omar Bonilla

LIMA, Peru – The Peruvian government and opposition union groups came face to face during new protests on July 7, with a 72-hour strike in nine of the country's 25 provinces.

The first 24 hours of the strike were strictly observed in the Andes and southern Amazon regions, reported EFE, where social and political protests were led by the National Life and Sovereignty Front, which mainly represents farmers from the mountain regions of Arequipa, Puno, Huancavelica, Apurímac and Ayacucho, and the provinces of Junín, Pasco, Huánuco and Áncash in the center and north of Peru.

The government placed the 35,000-strong police force on maximum alert, reported El Comercio, and mobilized 6,500 army troops to boost security.

The protests featured several different social sectors. The Peruvian General Workers Union (CGTP), with 1.5 million members, demanded the resignation of Cabinet Minister Yehude Simon Munaro and the Home and Trade Secretaries, Mercedes Cabanillas and Mercedes Araóz, respectively.

The CGTP rejected Alan García’s liberal economic policies, reported Andina, and called for the suspension of all free trade agreements between Peru and other countries. The union also demanded salary increases and questioned other fundamental government policies including privatization plans for ports, airports, electric power and oil.

Other groups joining the protests included the teachers’ unions, who wanted the government to scrap a law which they felt undermined their job security. Transport workers wanted to repeal new road laws which introduced harsher traffic fines.

Peru, with 24 million people, is experiencing a wave of social protests which peaked on June 5, when demonstrations by indigenous groups from the northeastern Amazon province of Bagua resulted in 33 deaths, including 23 police officers attacked by mobs protesting against laws to allow natural resources in protected areas to be exploited.

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  • | 2009-07-30

    the strikes carried out by the various trade unions and social organizations do not have the force or the effect they are seeking, because unfortunately it seems that they did not follow the same aspirations, they fail to agree on the objectives they wish to reach, they can never agree to stage a single strike with all of the sectors, so when they make their complaints or demands they never the achieve the success they hoped for, the government of the time mocks everyone and opresses everyone and that is the viscious neverending circle. they need to organize a national trade union meeting and promote a referendum on constitutional reform on articles 37,99 which promote and protect the institutionalized corruption of the authorities which constantly remain in power

  • | 2009-07-24

    this is a sad situation

  • | 2009-07-23

    Not such a transparent piece of news, Peru is a very quiet country. It's true there were demonstrations by tiny groups but most of us support the current economic policy, I'd also say that 98% of Peruvians just want democracy and tranquility.