Peru’s interim president, Manuel Merino, has announced his resignation after less than a week in office, as protests in the capital Lima to support his controversially impeached predecessor left two people dead and dozens wounded.
“I present my irrevocable resignation,” Merino said in a televised address, adding that it was time for “peace and unity” for the country.
The call for his “immediate” dismissal was backed by all parties in Peru’s Congress. The MPs warned that they would launch impeachment procedures if Merino tries to hold on to power.
Earlier on Sunday, more than half of the ministers in the new cabinet also left their posts in response to the outbreak of violence.
A former head of congress, Merino became Peru’s interim leader after the lawmakers voted last Monday to remove President Martin Vizcarra from the job, over allegations of corruption, which he vigorously denies.
But the public was left unsatisfied with the switch and hundreds of protesters gathered in central Lima on Saturday.
The rally started peacefully, but was marred by clashes after dark, with Peru’s Ombudsman accusing the police of “misusing force and throwing tear gas without justification.”
Two people were killed after suffering gunshot wounds in the unrest. More than 60 others required hospitalization due to injuries or inhaling tear gas, according to the health authorities.
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Vizcarra, who hasn’t been found guilty of the bribery charges that provoked his impeachment, insisted that Merino’s “illegal and illegitimate government” was responsible for the fatalities and injuries. The deaths of the “brave young men” will not be left unpunished, he vowed in a tweet.
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