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Although Mario Merino knew in advance that the 2020 protests could be massive, he did nothing to prevent the Army and Police from acting brutally.
On Monday, Peru’s Attorney General Zoraida Avalos denounced before Congress former President Manuel Merino and ex-ministers Antero Flores-Araoz and Gaston Rodriguez for allowing the Police and Armed Forces to repress a mass protest on Nov. 14, 2020.
"Although the defendants knew in advance that protests could be massive, they did not provide measures to control or mitigate Police repression. This attitude confirms the negligent intention to harm the citizenry," Avalos stated, recalling that two Peruvians resulted dead and 78 people were injured during the demonstrations.
"The denunciation against me is an attack against democracy," Merino claimed, stressing that he did not formally assume command of the Armed Forces and the National Police, which handled the operational plan against the protests exclusively.
Both the Subcommission on Constitutional Accusations and the Parliament plenary must re-evaluate the complaint against Merino due to his right to impeachment as a former president. However, if lawmakers find sufficient evidence to accuse him, he could be taken to preventive prison, outlet El Comercio highlighted.
Peru's new leftist President Pedro Castillo used his first ever speech at the United Nations to call for a "social transformation" that guarantees not just civil and political rights, but also economic and social rights to healthcare, education, housing, and dignified work pic.twitter.com/YZpbSbI7t6
After the resignation of President Martin Viscarra (2018-2020), Merino held the presidency between November 10 and 15, 2020. As a result of the broad repudiation of the police brutality deployed against Peruvians, he resigned arguing that he was doing it to prevent those seeking "chaos" and "violence" from achieving their objectives.
On Sept. 14, citizens took to the streets of Lima to demand justice for Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado, who were shot dead in the 2020 anti-government protests.
On that occasion, the Peruvians urged the Office of the General Attorney to summon Merino, Flores-Araoz, and Rodriguez not as witnesses of State terrorism but actors of crimes against humanity.
#Peru Setting an example for Peru and for politicians everywhere, President-elect Pedro Castillo has given up his presidential salary and will continue receiving his teacher's salary. pic.twitter.com/BgWWuTJaDy