By Brendan Oliver Bergh
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
LIMA, Peru – A new local ordinance in Lima was enacted with the intent of relocating a market due to hygiene concerns. The police tasked with closing down the markets in La Parada were met with violent protests from stall-owners and local citizens. While resistance was expected, the police were not originally prepared for the levels of violence they encountered.
The market at La Parada is known to be filled with criminals and a place where you can buy stolen and black market goods. The resistance that the National Police of Peru have faced may have been a shock, but protesters have a method for their madness. Beyond the mere criminal aspects of the market, numerous law-abiding shopkeepers are being forced to relocate into this new market. Critics of the relocation claim that the new market space will not provide sufficient space with a much higher rent.
The forced market relocation began with a riot. Police originally used concrete blocks and bricks to stop supply trucks from entering the La Parada market. They were attacked with clubs and bricks, the police responded with live ammunition and tear gas.
On the first day, one person was shot and killed and a police officer was beaten to near death. The protests continued and two more people died in clashes with the police.
Lima’s Mayor, Susana Villaran, has accused stall-owners of hiring criminals to stall the police with rocks and clubs, claiming that the real merchants want to move into the new market. She continued that “We are regaining order and security in an area that has only been one of disorder, chaos, insecurity and filth.”
As the police have managed to pacify the area 2,000 officers have remained to enforce public order and restrict the recreation of the markets. 1,500 have been stationed at supply centers to prevent recurrence of violence or allow trucks to enter the area and restock the protesters and bring food into the area. Another 500 have been sent to patrol the area to ensure that peace and dissuade criminals from re-continuing their illegal acts.
The Ministry of Interior has announced a campaign to identify the criminal who caused the riots and began attacking policemen. They plan on n using surveillance equipment in order to identify protesters The police will also begin putting up physical and digital posters with the faces of the agitators. The Ministry expects the support of the population in this matter.
To date 101 people have been arrested, including 6 minors.
For further information, please see:
Andina Agencia Peruana De Noticias – More Than 2,000 Officers Remain At The Stop To Ensure Public Order – 28 October 2012
La Republica – The Stop: Interior Minister Announces Campaign To Identify Attackers Of Police – 28 October 2012
RPP Noticias – Pedraza Assumes Some Responsibility For Acts Of La Parada – 28 October 2012
The BBC – Peru Clashes: Two More Die In Lima Market Protests – 27 October 2012