Peruvian Police carry out a violent raid at the San Marcos University in Lima | Peru

Dozens of police raided a Lima university on Saturday, breaking down the doors with an armored vehicle, firing tear gas and detaining more than 200 people who had come to the Peruvian capital to take part in anti-government protests.

The images showed dozens of people lying face down on the ground at the University of San Marcos after the surprise police operation. The students told The Guardian they were pushed, kicked and beaten with batons as they were forced out of their dormitories.

The police raid on the University of San Marcos -the oldest in the Americas – is the latest in a series of affronts prompting growing calls for President Dina Boluarte to resign after six weeks of unrest that has claimed 60 lives, injured at least 580 and more than 500 arrested.

He demos They began in early December in support of ousted former President Pedro Castillo, but have overwhelmingly moved to demand Boluarte’s resignation, the closure of Congress and new elections. Boluarte was Castillo’s vice president and replaced him after he tried to blinds congress and govern by decree on December 7.

People detained on the campus of the University of San Marcos in Lima.
People detained on the campus of the University of San Marcos in Lima. Photograph: Juan Mandamiento/AFP/Getty Images

Many of those arrested in Saturday’s raid had traveled from southern Peru to the capital to take part in a demonstration last Thursday labeled the “Take of Lima” which began peacefully but descended into battles between protesters and riot police amid stone throwing and tear gas.

In a statement about TwitterThe office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Peruvian authorities to “ensure the legality and proportionality of the [police] intervention and due process guarantees. He stressed the importance of the presence of the prosecutors, who were absent during the first hours of the raid.

Students living in dormitories said armed police officers violently forced them out of their rooms, breaking down doors and using shoving and kicking to force them out.

Esteban Godofredo, a 20-year-old political science student, received medical treatment for leg injuries. “He hit me with his stick and knocked me to the ground and started kicking me,” Godofredo told The Guardian as he sat on the grass outside the residence with a badly bruised and bandaged right calf.

Esteban Godofredo, student, receives treatment for injuries to his leg
Esteban Godofredo, a student, receives treatment for leg injuries. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

Videos seen by The Guardian showed confused and terrified students gathered outside their halls, some still in their pyjamas, as riot police shouted orders and insults. The youths were forced to stand against a wall or kneel in a line.

“They pointed their guns at us and yelled ‘out.’ We didn’t even have time to get our IDs,” said Jenny Fuentes, 20, a student teacher. “They forced us to our knees. Many of the girls were crying but they told us to shut up.”

“They did not tell us why they forced us out of our rooms,” he said. The group of about 90 students, who had stayed on campus during the summer vacation to work and study, were then herded into the main courtyard, a 10-minute walk away, where the other people had been detained.

Several hours after the raid, they were not allowed to return to their rooms, which were being searched by the police.

Items that Peruvian police say belonged to detained protesters who were staying on the San Marcos University campus in Lima.
Items that Peruvian police say belonged to detained protesters who were staying on the San Marcos University campus in Lima. Photograph: Dan Collyns/The Guardian

“I have been a student in San Marcos [University] and since the 1980s we have not experienced such an outrage,” Susel Paredes, a congresswoman, told The Guardian as a police cordon prevented her from entering the campus.

“The police have entered the university residence, in the rooms of the students who had nothing to do with the protesters. They have been threatened and taken from their rooms while they slept”.

Paredes said it was a reminder of periodic police and military raids on the public university in the 1980s and 1990s, when the campus was seen as a hotbed of subversion during the state’s conflict with Shining Path rebels. , inspired by Mao.

“We are not at that moment, we are supposedly under a democratic government that must respect fundamental rights,” said Paredes.

Amid protests and roadblocks paralyzing much of the country, Peruvian authorities on Saturday ordered the closure “until further notice” of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail that leads to the World Heritage archaeological site. Peru’s biggest tourist attraction bringing in more than 1 million visitors a year.

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