Hundreds of people gathered Thursday evening in Plaza San Martin to protest against Peru’s unraveling political situation.
El Comercio warned that two bus services had been diverted and various bus stops were closed to accommodate the protesters, who marched along the streets holding a long flag of Peru. Also marching were people dressed in huge gallinazo costumes, the ominous-looking black bird hailed as the symbol of Lima. The gallinazo, or turkey buzzard, is a scavenger and is known for eating the rubbish of the city. Protestors carried a banner saying ‘If they can eat rubbish, they can eat corruption’.
Signs carried and worn expressed the sentiment of the city around the political climate, stained by recent accusations of corruption and the recent resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
‘Everyone is corrupt!’
‘All the presidents and narco-politicians to prison’
‘Get rid of everyone, new elections!’
The protest was not entirely peaceful, as police set off tear gas to disperse a portion of the crowd that was setting off fireworks. Later in the evening, Canal N journalist Fernando Llanos had stones and water bottles thrown at him while he was trying to cover the event, leaving him with a cut on his head.
The mood on Twitter, where the hashtag #QueSeVayanTodos (‘Get rid of them all’) was prevalent, was mixed with some users celebrating the event. However, others wondered why people were marching now, when there were no protests against Kuczynski’s reign or against members of Congress being bought out. Another commentator felt like the march wasn’t enough.
Seguramente ahora convocan a una “Marcha Contra la Corrupción”, darán su vueltita por el centro de Lima, sus cánticos, palmas y ya. Si hay una marcha berraca para meter terror y ocupar el congreso, voy con vincha roja como Rambo csm.
— Jair Gonzales (@jairgonzales) March 21, 2018
“Oh yeah, now they’ll get together and march against corruption, they’ll go for a little stroll around the centre of Lima, with chants and clapping but that’s it,” the Tweeter wrote. “If there’s a bitter march to scare people and occupy congress, I’ll go with a red headband like Rambo.”
Corruption has been an unavoidable part of Peruvian politics for many years, and The Washington Post labels Kuczynski as the third president to fall prey to Odebrecht corruption scandal.
Martin Vizcarra is due to be sworn in as President today, and it remains to be seen how he will deal with a Congress that is almost as unpopular as Kuczynski himself.