Ahead of the arrival of more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel in Peru, Peruvians marched in the capital city Lima to protest U.S. military intervention in the South American country, Prensa Latina reported Thursday.
Protesters condemned frequent U.S. military presence as an assault on Peruvian national sovereignty and security.
“We reject this presence and those who authorized it, like this traitor government and the congress that currently does not represent anybody,” said Guillermo Bermejo of the group Agora Popular, according to Prensa Latina. “Let it be known that this struggle for respect for our sovereignty is just beginning.”
The march began from the Plaza San Martin in central Lima and moved to the U.S. embassy. Demonstrators protested the government’s decision to allow the U.S. to send 3,200 soldiers armed with weapons, ships, and planes to Peru, whose arrival is expected September 1.
Activists said that the march would prove to be the first of many to raise this issue and put pressure on the government to change its ways with respect to allowing U.S. military involvement in the country.
Family members of victims murdered during Alberto Fujimori's dictatorship pay tribute to their relatives in 2007. Photo: Reuters
Marches also took place earlier this year to protest President Ollanta Humala’s policies, such as welcoming U.S. troops, that contradict his electoral promises of increased independence from the U.S. in favor of Latin American regional integration.
The 3,200 military personnel will be in Peru only temporarily, while three more U.S. military groups of at least seven contingents that have arrived in Peru this year will stay for 12 months.
Protesters also drew attention to the history of U.S. military presence and its deadly consequences, including its involvement in massacres, torture, disappearances, and other human rights abuses.
Many of Peru’s more than 70,000 disappearances during the country’s so-called “war on terror” counter-insurgency strategy between 1980 and 200 have been seen as part of the U.S.-backed Operation Condor, which saw dictatorships quash rebellious voices and leftist movements throughout the continent.