One protester dead, several injured in clashes with Peru police
A farm worker who took part in a road block protest in Peru died Wednesday following clashes with police while several others were injured, a hospital said.
The violence came a day after President Pedro Castillo called off a curfew in Lima aimed at curbing nationwide protests against rising fuel prices.
"Fifteen injured people have come in, we have one seriously injured. There is a civilian who came in dead as a result of the conflict," Carlos Navea, director of the hospital in Ica some 300 kilometers (180 miles) south of Lima, said on Facebook.
Navea said 12 police officers and three civilians were injured.
A farm workers leader told RPP radio the dead man was a 25-year-old from Huancavelica who worked for a company in Ica.
The clashes broke out on Wednesday morning after police tried to break up a blockade by dozens of farm workers on the Pan-Americana Highway, the country's most important artery for people and goods.
The fertile Ica region is a hub of the Peruvian agricultural sector.
Tensions had been building in Peru since Monday when truckers called for a strike and protests broke out in Lima, Ica and other parts of the country over rising food and fuel prices.
Castillo reacted late on Monday night by calling a curfew in Lima and the neighboring port city of Callao -- together home to 10 million people -- on Tuesday.
A widespread public backlash and pressure from the right-wing opposition dominated Congress prompted the leftist Castillo to lift the curfew late on Tuesday afternoon.
That brought celebrations from protesters outside parliament and around the capital but the crisis did not end.
Clashes broke out on Tuesday night in Lima following marches in several parts of the city with demonstrators chanting: "Castillo out!"
Buildings were attacked and shops vandalized.
The interior minister said 25 police officers were injured in the trouble.
It is the first time in the 52-year-old former rural school teacher's eight months in power that he has faced a social protest movement.
Like much of the rest of the world, Peru's economy is reeling from damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an attempt to appease protesters, the government over the weekend eliminated a tax on fuel and decreed a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage from May 1.
But the General Confederation of Workers of Peru -- the country’s main trade union federation -- has remained defiant and called for more protests on Thursday.