Lima, 25 Jan. The Foreign Press Association in Peru (APEP) said Wednesday that it “deplores and condemns” that journalists are also victims “of the violent anti-government protests” taking place in the Andean country.
The APEP reported, in a statement, that the photographers Sebastián Castañeda, from the Reuters agency, and Ernesto Benavides, from AFP, were “among the wounded” of a march that took place this Tuesday in the historic center of Lima.
“Both were hit in the body with pellets and stones when they were covering a confrontation between the riot police and vandals infiltrated among the protesters,” he explained.
He added that in addition to Castañeda and Benavides, who are members of APEP, other journalists were also affected, such as the independent photographer Lupe Pardo, “whose lens was hit by a pellet while taking photos.”
“APEP reiterates its call for the protests to take place peacefully,” the association remarked before endorsing the call of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which states that “the Police, Armed Forces and protesters must respect life and integrity of people during protests, as well as public and private property”.
Local media indicated that in the intense clashes this Tuesday in the streets of downtown Lima, police officers were seen firing pellets, in addition to tear gas, while the protesters threw stones, bricks and other blunt objects.
That day, a team from the state channel TV Peru also denounced that it was attacked by a group of protesters who threw “some objects, bottles and also water at them to try to damage the transmission equipment,” according to one of its reporters while broadcasting the protests.
The demonstrators have been demanding since last December the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and the closure of Congress, as well as the calling of general elections for this year and a constituent assembly.
To date, according to data from the Ombudsman’s Office, 46 people who participated in the protests have died during clashes in Peru, while a policeman died after being burned alive by protesters.
Added to these victims are ten deaths in events related to roadblocks and one death that occurred in the northern region of La Libertad, confirmed by the Police.
Likewise, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Acnur) reported the death of four Haitians who could not receive medical assistance due to roadblocks, in addition to the unborn baby confirmed by Unicef.