LIMA – A protest by inhabitants of the southern Peruvian city of Andahuaylas against the regional electric utility on Monday turned into clashes with the National Police, authorities said.
Demonstrators, who had been encouraged since last Thursday to take part in a general strike, struggled against cops sent from the neighboring Ayacucho region to strengthen security, a police spokesman told Efe.
For his part, the president of the Andahuaylas Confrontation Committee, Julian Merino, said on RPP radio that the clash was the consequence of “government provocation” of the protesters who are waiting for Prime Minister Ana Jara to make an appearance.
Merino said the cops faced the locals with firearms.
As yet there has been no official report of casualties in the struggle.
The demonstrators demand the return of unjustified fees collected by the utility Electro Sur Este, accusing it of having doubled and even tripled monthly charges in one of the poorest areas of Peru.
Apurimac regional Gov. Wilber Venegas said on RPP that he will go Monday to Jara’s office in order to accompany her to Andahuaylas, fully believing that she is ready to go there and resolve the people’s demands.
The prime minister announced Sunday the dispatch of a high-level delegation to Andahuaylas.
The delegation tried Sunday to reach agreements with the protest leaders and local authorities, but the talks broke down over the demand that Jara come personally to that Andean city.
The people of Andahuaylas have taken to the streets for days and Saturday saw another face-off with police that left 15 people wounded.