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News > Peru

Peru's Police Exercised an Excessive Use of Force, UN Says

  • Anti-riot police injured a protester, Lima, Peru, Nov. 15, 2020.

    Anti-riot police injured a protester, Lima, Peru, Nov. 15, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/@AnonNews_Col

Published 14 January 2021

At least two people died and 200 demonstrators were injured due to police brutality during massive protests in November.

The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Office (OHCHR) published a report stating that the Peruvian Police repressed the November 2020 protests with an "unnecessary and excessive use of force."


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Besides the use of prohibited projectiles such as glass marbles, the report pointed out that police officers shot "indiscriminately and at close range" to the head and upper body of the demonstrators.

OHCHR also recorded testimonies of sexual abuse, the lack of policemen's identification when making detentions, and arbitrary arrest without adequate legal assistance.

Describing the report as a "valuable document", Peru's Interior Minister Jose Elice considered that the document "might have exaggerated a bit". He also announced changes to anti-riot protocols to modulate police officers' conduct and ensure respect for human rights.

In November, the dismissal of President Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) by Congress and the appointment of Manuel Merino as Interim President sparked nationwide protests. 

Police brutality caused the death of two young people and injured around 200 citizens. This situation forced Merino to resign five days after taking office. 

Although current Interim President Francisco Sagasti vowed for reforms in the police corps, the agents who fired the deadly shots have yet to be identified and news casualties by police have occurred in recent agricultural sector protests.

"The use of violence must obey the principles of legality, necessity, caution, accountability, and proportionality. As we were able to conclude, this clearly did not happen," OHCHR delegation chief Jan Jarab said. 

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