Peru’s new president, Francisco Sagasti, ordered a police reform on Monday (24), appointed a new commander and sent 15 generals to the reserve in response to the violent repression of protesters during the previous government, which lasted less than a month. week.
“I made the decision to designate General César Augusto Cervantes as the new police commander,” Sagasti announced in a message to the country on television six days after taking office. “These measures are intended to strengthen the police.”
Cervantes replaced General Orlando Velasco, who had been in charge of the security forces since August 7. The change comes despite Velasco being on sick leave during protests against former president Manuel Merino.
Two people died and more than 100 were injured in the police crackdown on the demonstrations in Lima, and Merino resigned five days after assuming power to replace former President Martín Vizcarra, who was removed by Congress.
Artist performs during a protest in Lima that calls for social changes and a new constitution to the interim president of Peru, Francisco Sagasti, on Saturday (21) – Photo: Rodrigo Abd / AP
The move also included passing 15 police generals to the reserve, Interior Minister Rubén Vargas said. “We want a police that continues to defend democracy and fundamental rights, that gives us back security and guarantees.”
Sagasti also created a commission, led by Vargas, which is expected to present recommendations within 60 days to modernize and strengthen the institution. The interim president said that with the reform he intends to “connect the police with the citizens”.
Vargas announced on Sunday (23) an administrative investigation that could target generals and other officials after the two deaths of protesters on the 14th. “Investigations are taking place with absolute priority and respecting due process,” said the minister.
In addition to the two deaths and more than 100 wounded in central Lima, women detained in police stations have reported sexual abuse.
The prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary criminal investigation last week against Merino and two of his ministers for the crackdown. The prosecution wants to determine the “command line” in the government and the police during the crackdown on acts.
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