Pressure mounts on Peru’s president after 2 die in protests

LIMA, Peru: Pressure mounted on Peru’s interim president to resign Sunday after a night of protests in which two people were killed and the country’s political turmoil deepened.

At least nine of Manuel Merino’s Cabinet members quit and the president of Congress scheduled an emergency session to discuss the leader’s resignation.

The chaotic events came as thousands marched through the streets of Lima wearing masks and carrying signs that read, “Merino is not my president.” Authorities said two men, ages 24 and 25, died from gunshot wounds during the demonstrations.

Merino, a little-known politician and rice farmer, rose to Peru’s highest office Monday after the legislature voted to oust former President Martín Vizcarra. Lawmakers utilized a clause dating back to the 19th century to declare the president of “permanent moral incapacity” based on unproven allegations that he’d accepted bribes while serving as governor years ago.

Angry Peruvians have taken to the streets ever since in daily demonstrations accusing Congress of staging a parliamentary coup.

Merino, who until recently served as the head of Congress, did not immediately respond to the growing calls for his resignation after Saturday’s protests.

Earlier Saturday, the embattled leader denied the protests were against him, telling a local radio station that young people were demonstrating against unemployment and not being able to complete their studies amid the coronavirus pandemic. - AP