Peru imposes, then withdraws curfew to quell price protests

Peru_Protests_22610 Trucks and buses block the Pan American highway during a strike in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_56047 Trucks block the Pan American highway during a truckers strike in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protest_91253 Truck drivers rest while blocking the Pan American highway as they strike in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_67180 Trucks block the Pan American highway during a truckers strike in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_47961 People prepare a communal stew for protesters blocking the Pan American highway during a truckers strike in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_05665 A woman walks past Special Forces Police at a checkpoint in the Manchay district, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo imposed a tight curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_20399 Special Forces Police arrive to a checkpoint in the Manchay district, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protest_52891 The "Via Rapida Libre" is empty in the San Isidro financial district of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo imposed a tight curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Transport_Strike_67584 Drivers and residents protest on the Central Highway where trucks and buses are parked to block the road in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Transport_Strike_35749 Police remove burning tires from the Central Highway where trucks and buses are parked to block the road in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Transport_Strike_22855 Drivers wait on the Central Highway in traffic created by truckers and bus drivers blocking the road in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Transport_Strike_57722 Residents walk along the Central Highway because it's blocked as part of a transportation strike in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Transport_Strike_28102 Residents walk along the Central Highway while it's blocked by trucks and buses during a transportation strike in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Transport_Strike_55660 Residents walk along the Central Highway because it's blocked by trucks and buses as part of a transportation strike in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
Peru_Protests_14726 Burning tires block the Pan American highway, placed by protesting truck drivers, as residents walk instead of drive in Ica, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo imposed a tight curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_56837 The "Via Rapida Libre" is empty in the San Isidro financial district of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo imposed a tight curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
PERÚ-PROTESTAS_96144 Las fuerzas especiales de la policía llegan a un puesto de control en el distrito de Manchay, en las afueras de Lima, Perú, el martes 5 de abril de 2022.
Peru_Protests_45960 A woman waits for transport behind Special Forces Police at a checkpoint in the Manchay district on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a tight curfew on the capital and the country's main port in response to sometimes violent protects over rising prices of fuel and food, requiring people in Lima and Callao to mostly stay in their homes all of Tuesday.
Peru_Protests_42842 Special Forces Police arrive to a checkpoint in the Manchay district, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo has imposed a curfew on the capital and the country’s main port in response to sometimes violent protests over rising prices of fuel and food.
Peru_Transport_Strike_20681 Drivers and residents protest on the Central Highway during a transportation strike in Huaycan on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. Cargo truckers and passenger bus drivers are blocking access to the capital to demand lower fuel prices amid inflation.
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LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s president on Tuesday lifted a curfew he had decreed less than a day earlier in the country’s capital and its main port in a bid to quell sometimes violent protests over rising fuel and food prices.

President Pedro Castillo had announced the surprise curfew and emergency measures shortly before midnight and ended them Tuesday afternoon after more than 1,000 people protested the stay-at-home order in Lima and amid a meeting with congressional leaders. Opposition lawmakers had decried the emergency measures as illegal.

“It is up to the executive at this time to rescind the measure limiting mobility,” Castillo said while he met with lawmakers to discuss the political crisis.

The curfew and emergency measures marked the first time since the government of now-jailed strongman Alberto Fujimori that Peruvian authorities had ordered people to stay at home to control protests. On April 5, 1992, Fujimori shut down Peru’s congress and judicial system, and sent tanks into the streets amid social and economic unrest.

On Tuesday, major highways and street markets in Lima were almost deserted, and the main bus and public transportation lines were out of service. The empty streets had resembled the tightest lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic which hit Peru badly, leaving more than 212,000 people dead.

“It’s a shame. We’re experiencing a terrible economic situation, brother,” said Juan Gutiérrez, a 45-year-old father of four who had been waiting in vain for a bus for more than an hour so he could get to a clothing workshop where he is paid by the piece.

“Do you know what it means to lose a day? We have to work to eat,” he said.

The state of emergency ordered people to stay at home and restricted rights to movement and gatherings. It also eased rules limiting arbitrary searches.

The government said people could leave their homes only in cases of medical emergency or the need to buy medicine or food. The curfew exempted essential services such as food markets, pharmacies, clinics and trash collection. But there were no buses to take workers to their jobs.

Truckers and other transport workers have been protesting and striking over fuel and food prices, blocking some key highways. Protests over the past week have resulted in four deaths and the burning of toll stations and small-scale looting.

In response, the government on Sunday temporarily removed a tax that increases the prices of gasoline and diesel by 28% to 30%.

That supposedly brought the price of diesel down to 47 cents a liter — about $3.68 a gallon. But many of the protesters said stations had not adopted the lower prices.

Castillo said the disturbances caused “worry among workers, mothers and the population in general” and imposed the curfew to “reestablish peace and internal order.”

Defense Minister José Gavidia told journalists Tuesday the curfew was motivated by intelligence indicating there were plans for broader violence, especially in central Lima.

Armed soldiers were deployed at strategic points in Peru’s capital and the port of Callao, including the airport, gas stations and shopping centers. Agents were seen detaining several passengers on a bus taking people to a protest in southern Lima.

“I don’t think things are going to be fixed from one day to the next because (Castillo) has closed everything,” said Elena Gamboa, 40, who managed to open her street stand despite the curfew.

In Lima’s wealthier districts, people banged pots and pans in protest. One 75-year-old man, who identified himself only as Oscar, said he was marching against “the communist government of Castillo.”

Castillo has acknowledged in recent weeks that the country faces an economic crisis that he blamed on the pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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