UN chief 'deeply disturbed' by political unrest in Peru

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "deeply disturbed" by a violent crackdown in Peru against people protesting the impeachment of former president Martin Vizcarra, his spokesman said Monday.

Guterres was "deeply disturbed by reports of excessive use of force and violence allegedly committed by security forces during the protests, including the death of two young men, dozens of injured and attacks against media workers," said his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

Vizcarra's impeachment a week ago over allegations of corruption, and his replacement by congressional speaker Manuel Merino just five months before an election, triggered widespread protests, which police used force to crush, killing two young people and injuring hundreds of others.

Merino quit on Sunday, scarcely five days after taking up his post, and centrist lawmaker Francisco Sagasti was elected by Congress as Peru's third president in a week, faced with the daunting task of restoring peace in the midst of the worst political crisis in decades.

The Peruvian attorney general's office on Monday opened a preliminary investigation against Merino for the deaths of the two young men, apparently killed by police.

Guterres is following the situation in Peru "with concern" Dujarric said, and "urges all stakeholders to work towards a prompt and institutional solution to the current political crisis... through inclusive dialogue with full respect for the rule of law."