(CNN Spanish) –– Anti-government protests in the streets of Peru continued on Wednesday, amid a crisis that has raged since early December. The Ombudsman’s Office registered an additional death during this day, which brings the death toll to 57, of which 56 are civilians.
According to the report presented this Wednesday afternoon, the person died due to events related to the blockade of a road in the Cusco region. According to information from the institution, since the beginning of the protests, 979 civilians and 580 police officers have been injured.
For her part, President Dina Boluarte attended a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday, where she gave a speech in which she promised to investigate the alleged abuses by the authorities against the protesters.
“If excessive use of force has been committed to restore internal order, those responsible will be investigated and prosecuted,” Boluarte promised.
The OAS meeting was called to discuss the human rights situation in Peru, where protesters have been demanding the president’s resignation for weeks.
Boluarte also said that his government “respects and defends the legitimate right to peaceful demonstration, but it is also true that the State has the duty to ensure security and internal order.”
The president expressed that she was “deeply hurt” by the “loss of life of many compatriots.” And she added that she created a multisectoral commission to support the relatives of the victims.
Violence has cost Peru $1 billion in damage, says Boluarte
The violence that Peru has experienced in recent weeks has cost the country more than US$1 billion in damage, according to Boluarte.
“There has been damage to public and private property, damage to airports, highways and ambulances that have been attacked on their way to hospitals or had to be stopped due to blockades or acts of violence,” explained the president.
The president said that the violence and blockades generated a loss of 2.5 billion soles (more than US$500 million) and there has been a loss of 3 billion soles (US$700 million) in damage to infrastructure.
Boluarte said that approximately 100 offices of public institutions suffered damage. He also that 12 police stations were damaged and burned down.
More than 240,000 businesses, mostly small businesses, were affected, it said.
Blockades and violence prevented the movement of food and water throughout the country, he continued.
“This legitimate right to protest, however, cannot mean that the foundations of the frameworks of democratic institutions and peaceful coexistence among Peruvians can be undermined,” he said.
With information from Sahar Akbarzai and Abel Alvarado.