- Manuel Merino announced his resignation Sunday as the nation plunged into its worst constitutional crisis in two decades.
- The decision came after a night of protests in which dozens of protesters were injured from blunt force, tear gas and projectiles.
- The President of Congress called on Merino to resign immediately and said lawmakers would vote to get rid of him if he refuses.
Peru (SK) — Peru's interim president announced his resignation Sunday as the nation plunged into its worst constitutional crisis in two decades. In a short televised address, Manuel Merino said he acted within the law when he was sworn into office Tuesday.
The decision came after a night of protests in which dozens of protesters were injured from blunt force, tear gas and projectiles. The protesters are upset at Congress for staging what they consider an illegal power grab and whom Merino had chosen to lead his new government. He became Peru's leader Tuesday after a stunning vote by Congress to remove popular ex-President Martn Vizcarra. Because of this, Merino was next in line to the presidency when Vizcarra was removed. Luis Valdez is the current head of Congress, who plans to resign.
The protests rocking Peru are unlike any seen in recent years. They are fueled by young people who don't think much about the country's controversial politics.
“We are documenting cases of police brutality in downtown Lima”, said José Miguel Vivanco, America's director of Human Rights Watch. The rights groups have also documented excessive force against demonstrators, the deployment of tear gas near homes and hospitals, and the detention of demonstrations.
However, they claim the move amounted to an illegal parliamentary coup. The groups say the violence came predominantly from police using force to slow down the protests. “Two young people were absurdly, stupidly, unjustly sacrificed by the police”, Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa said in a video posted online. “We should put above all else the lives of the Peruvian people”.
In remarks before Saturday's protest, Merino denied the protests were against him. He told a local radio station that young people protested unemployment and not being able to complete their studies because of the pandemic. “We want the voice of the people to be heard”, protester Fernando Ramirez said Saturday night as he banged a spoon against a pot.
The president of Congress called on Merino to resign immediately and said lawmakers would vote to get rid of him if he refuses.