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  • Police officer throws tear gas canisters at demonstrators, Viru, Peru, Dec. 30, 2020.

    Police officer throws tear gas canisters at demonstrators, Viru, Peru, Dec. 30, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 1 January 2021
Opinion

Three people, including one minor, died due to police brutality amid farmworkers' protests, wile demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

Peru's Interior Minister Jose Elice Thursday assured authorities would radically reform the National Police after three people were killed due to police brutality during farmworkers' protests against the new Agrarian Law.

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His announcement occurred after a picture of a police officer using a firearm to suppress protests went viral on social media.

"We cannot be sure that the policeman photographed is responsible for the deaths and injuries. It's not clear yet under what circumstances he is pointing a gun," Elice said, adding that "the photograph, however, is very alarming. We will take radical measures." 

In a broadcast message, President Francisco Sagasti also condemned police brutality and vowed to take action against police "who violated the ban on the use of firearms in protests."

On Thursday, hundreds of agricultural workers maintained the Pan-American Highway blocked, in Viru Province's vicinity, to demand justice for the three people killed. 

According to Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office, one victim was a minor. Two protesters died of gunshot wounds, while a 56-year-old man with cancer died on a vehicle stranded by the protest. 

Clashes that intensified after Congress passed the new Agrarian Law on Tuesday have left 28 protesters and 45 farmers arrested. Workers blockade the country’s principal road to demand agricultural-export companies to increase their daily wage from US$11 to US$20. The new bill only proposed an increase of US$13.

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