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Peru extends state of emergency in protest-hit cities

Protesters march demanding the resignation of Peru's President Dina Boluarte and the closure of Congress, in a residential area in Lima, on Jan 15, 2023. (CRIS BOURONCLE / AFP)

LIMA – Peru has extended a state of emergency for another month in the capital city of Lima and two southern regions where deadly protests against the government have sparked the country's worst violence in 20 years.

Peru first announced a month-long, nationwide state of emergency in mid-December, shortly after demonstrations broke out over the ousting of former leftist president Pedro Castillo, who had attempted to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.

More than 40 people have died in violent clashes between protesters and security forces since early December.

ALSO READ: Amid Peru Cabinet shakeup, top prosecutor probes protest deaths

The extended emergency measures signed by President Dina Boluarte late on Saturday, which grant police special powers and limit freedoms including the right to assembly, apply to Lima and the southern regions of Puno and Cusco.

As of Jan 12-13, a poll by Ipsos Peru published in newspaper Peru 21 on Sunday showed 71 percent of Peruvians disapproved of Boluarte's government, up from 68 percent in December

In Puno, where nearly half of the victims have died, the restrictions include a 10-day curfew.

In a march in Lima on Saturday, protesters raised red and white national flags alongside banners rimmed in black in a sign of mourning. They also lashed out against Boluarte, Castillo's former vice-president, who the day before had apologized for the deaths while calling for investigations.

ALSO READ: Thousands march in Peru capital demanding president step down

"She is a hypocrite," said protester Tania Serra, speaking over shouts of the crowd, which at times jostled with police outfitted in anti-riot gear. "She says sorry, sorry, but she doesn't come out to talk, she sends the police, the military to go kill."

As of Jan 12-13, a poll by Ipsos Peru published in newspaper Peru 21 on Sunday showed 71 percent of Peruvians disapproved of Boluarte's government, up from 68 percent in December.

READ MORE: Peru families mourn protest dead after worst violence in decades

Protesters have demanded Boluarte step down, and that Castillo, who was arrested for "rebellion," be released.