Peruvian police violently raid San Marcos University in Lima | Peru

Dozens of police officers raided a university in Lima on Saturday, smashed the gates with an armored vehicle, fired tear gas and arrested more than 200 people who had come to the Peruvian capital to take part in anti-government protests.

Footage showed dozens of people lying face down on the floor at San Marcos University after the police surprise operation. Students told the Guardian they were pushed, kicked and beaten with clubs as they were forced from their dormitories.

The police raid on the University of San Marcos – the oldest in America – is the latest in a series of insults leading to calls for President Dina Boluarte to resign after six weeks of unrest that has claimed 60 lives, while at least 580 injured and more than 500 arrested.

The demonstrations began in early December in support of ousted former president Pedro Castillo, but have shifted massively to demand Boluarte’s resignation, the closure of Congress and new elections. Boluarte was Castillo’s vice president, replacing him after he attempted to close Congress and rule by decree on December 7.

People detained on the campus of the University of San Marcos in Lima.
People detained on the campus of the University of San Marcos in Lima. Photo: Juan Mandamiento/AFP/Getty Images

Many of those arrested in Saturday’s raid had traveled to the capital from southern Peru to take part in a demonstration labeled the “takeover of Lima” last Thursday. tear gas.

In a statement on Twitterthe Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Peruvian authorities to “ensure the legality and proportionality of the [police] intervention and guaranteeing a fair trial”. It emphasized the importance of the presence of prosecutors, who were absent for the first hours of the raid.

Students living in dorms said they were forcibly forced from their rooms by armed police who broke down doors and used pushing and kicking to eject them.

Esteban Godofredo, a 20-year-old political science student, received medical treatment for injuries to his leg. “He hit me with his stick and he threw me on the ground and started kicking me,” Godofredo told the Guardian as he sat on the grass outside the residence with a badly bruised, bandaged right calf.

Esteban Godofredo, a student, is being treated for injuries to his leg
Esteban Godofredo, a student, is being treated for injuries to his leg. Photo: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

Videos seen by The Guardian showed confused and terrified students gathering outside their corridors, some still in pajamas, as riot police yelled orders and insults. Young men were forced to stand against a wall or kneel in a row.

“They pointed their guns at us and yelled, ‘Get out.’ We didn’t even have time to get our IDs,” says Jenny Fuentes, 20, a student teacher. “They forced us to kneel. Many of the girls were crying, but they told us to shut up.”

“They didn’t tell us why we were forced out of our rooms,” she said. The group of about 90 students, who had stayed on campus to work and study during the summer break, were then marched to the main patio, a 10-minute walk away, where the other people had been held.

For several hours after the raid, they were not allowed to return to their rooms which were searched by the police.

Items Peruvian police said belonged to detained protesters who were staying on the campus of San Marcos University in Lima.
Items Peruvian police said belonged to detained protesters who were staying on the campus of San Marcos University in Lima. Photo: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

“I studied at San Marcos [University] and we haven’t seen an outcry like this since the 1980s,” Susel Paredes, a congresswoman, told the Guardian when a police cordon prevented her from entering the campus.

“The police have entered the university residence, the rooms of the female students who had nothing to do with the protesters. They threatened them and took them out of their rooms while they slept.”

Paredes said it was a flashback to regular police and military raids on the public university in the 1980s and 1990s, when the campus was seen as a hotbed for subversion during the state conflict with the Mao-inspired Shining Path rebels.

“We are not at that time, we are supposedly under a democratic government that should respect fundamental rights,” Paredes said.

Amid the demonstrations and with roadblocks paralyzing much of the country, Peruvian authorities on Saturday ordered the closure “until further notice” of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail leading to the archaeological site that a World Heritage Site – Peru’s largest tourist attraction that brings in more than 1 million visitors per year.

Leave a Comment