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Peruvian police raid San Marcos University in Lima | Peru

Dozens of police raided a university in Lima on Saturday, smashing through doors with an armored vehicle, firing tear gas and arresting 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 at San Marcos University after the surprise police raid. Students told the Guardian they were pushed, kicked and beaten with truncheons as they were forced out of their dorms.

The police raid on San Marcos University – the oldest in the Americas – is the latest in a series of slurs leading to growing calls for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte after six weeks of unrest that left 60 people dead, while leaving at least 580 injured and more than 500 arrested.

The demonstrations began in early December in favor of ousted former president Pedro Castillo, but moved overwhelmingly to demand Boluarte’s resignation, the closure of Congress and new elections. Boluarte was Castillo’s vice-president and replaced him after he tried to shutter congress and rules 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. Photograph: Juan Mandamiento/AFP/Getty Images

Many of those arrested in Saturday’s raid had traveled from southern Peru to the capital to take part in a protest last Thursday titled « takeover of Limawhich started peacefully but turned into battles between protesters and riot police amid rock-throwing and whirlwinds of tear gas.

In a statement on Twitterthe Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the Peruvian authorities to “ensure the legality and proportionality of the [police] intervention and guarantees of due process”. He underlined the importance of the presence of the prosecutors, absent during the first hours of the raid.

Students living in halls of residence have reported being violently chased from their rooms by armed police who burst into doors and used shoving and kicking to eject them.

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

Esteban Godofredo, a student, is treated for leg injuries
Student Esteban Godofredo is being treated for leg injuries. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

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

“They pointed their guns at us and shouted ‘out’. We didn’t even have time to get our ID cards,” said Jenny Fuentes, 20, a student teacher. “They forced us to kneel down. Many girls were crying but they told us to shut up.

“They didn’t tell us why we were being forced out of our rooms,” she said. The group of around 90 students, who had remained on campus over the summer break to work and study, were then led to the main patio, a 10-minute walk away, where the others had been held.

Several hours after the raid, they had not been allowed to return to their rooms which were being searched by the police.

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

“I was a student in San Marcos [University] and since the 1980s we have not experienced such outrage,” Susel Paredes, a congresswoman, told the Guardian as she was blocked from entering campus by a police cordon.

“The police entered the university residence, the rooms of the students who had nothing to do with the demonstrators. They threatened them and took them out of their rooms while they were sleeping.

Paredes said it was a throwback to regular police and armed forces raids on the public university in the 1980s and 1990s, when the campus was seen as a hotbed of subversion during the conflict. state with the Shining Path rebels inspired by Mao.

“We are not in that time, we are supposed to be under a democratic government that should respect fundamental rights,” Paredes said.

Amid protests 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 that leads to the World Heritage archaeological site. – Peru’s biggest tourist attraction which brings in over a million visitors a year.

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