LatinNews Daily - 09 February 2023

PERU: Concerns escalate over protest repression

On 8 February the commander of Peru’s armed forces, General Manuel Gómez de la Torre, insisted that the military would restore order in the country, amid condemnation of the government’s opening of a hotline for citizens to report alleged terrorism offences online.


Gómez de la Torre’s comments came amid concerns that, in addition to the violent repression of protests by the security forces, President Dina Boluarte’s government is seeking to intimidate protesters with the threat of criminal charges for “apology for terrorism”. The opening of a tip-off line for citizens to report this crime has sparked fears among some human rights groups that the government, which has regularly accused protesters of “terrorism”, is setting the stage for a legal crackdown.  

  • Speaking to the Canal N television channel, Gómez de la Torre said that “we’re going to recover internal order” but denied that Peru had been militarised in the two months of protests since Boluarte took power after former president Pedro Castillo (2021-2022) was impeached and arrested. He said that, despite a state of exception which has placed the military and police in charge of restoring order in seven regions, “nothing has been militarised”. Gómez de la Torre did, however, say that the 60-day state of exception could be extended if the unrest continues past that deadline.
  • The government is facing mounting criticism for the broad interpretation of “apology for terrorism” being used in charges against protesters. On 6 February, the interior ministry announced that it has opened a hotline for citizens to report acts of alleged apology for terrorism on social media. An interior ministry statement called for “collaboration from citizens to help identify those who may be responsible for… exalting, justifying or praising the crime of terrorism”.
  • The Boluarte administration and its right-wing allies in congress have frequently referred to the protesters as “terrorists”, echoing language that was widely used to characterise the left as a whole under Castillo, and which harks back to the height of Sendero Luminoso (SL)’s guerrilla war against the Peruvian state in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • The international human rights NGO Amnesty International (AI) released a statement on 7 February condemning the opening of a tip-off line as an “authoritarian measure”. AI warned that “the virtual platform opened by the interior ministry could be used as a tool for harassment and criminalisation in the context of the current socio-political crisis, in which social protests that are heavily repressed and positions critical of the government are met with accusations of ‘terrorism’.”
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) yesterday awarded precautionary measures to Peru’s Attorney General Patricia Benavides, who has been the target of much public anger due to both the prosecution of protesters and her controversial moves against Castillo during his time in office. The precautionary measures oblige the Peruvian state to ensure Benavides’ safety, which the IACHR said was in response to “serious risks to her right to life and physical safety”.

Looking Ahead: Prime Minister Alberto Otárola yesterday indicated that congress’s constitutional commission, which on 3 February had appeared to snuff out hopes for a further debate on early elections, may be poised to re-examine its decision to archive a bill for early elections submitted by the government. Otárola said that “it seems that [the commission] is going to return to this highly important matter.”

Intelligence Research Ltd.
167-169 Great Portland Street,
5th floor,
London, W1W 5PF - UK
Phone : +44 (0) 203 695 2790
You may contact us via our online contact form
Copyright © 2022 Intelligence Research Ltd. All rights reserved.