Peru’s new leader Dina Boluarte unveiled her cabinet Saturday as protesters blocked highways and pelted police with rocks in the wake of Pedro Castillo’s ouster as president.
Boluarte, Peru’s first woman president, oversaw a ceremony in which 19 ministers — eight of whom are women — took the oath of office at the presidential palace.
Boluarte was hastily sworn in on Wednesday hours after Castillo, who faced a series of corruption probes, tried and failed to dissolve Congress, which then impeached him. Castillo is now under arrest.
Boluarte’s new chief of staff is a former prosecutor who specialized in corruption cases and her new cabinet comprises members seen as technocrats who are politically independent.
“Consolidation of democracy, rule of law, balance of powers, governability — this is the essential line of my government,” Boluarte, who was vice president under leftist Castillo, said in her first speech.
The 60-year-old lawyer has said she will serve out Castillo’s term through July 2026, but on Friday she did not rule out holding an early presidential vote.
Elections are a key demand of protesters who have been blocking roads and burning tires across the country, which has a record of political upheaval and instability.
Protests took a violent turn Saturday in the southern Andean city of Andahuaylas, where police used tear gas to quell thousands of marchers, some of whom used slingshots to repel police.
Twenty people — including four police — were injured in the clashes, the national human rights ombudsman’s office said in a tweet.
Two police officers who were taken hostage by protesters were later freed, the office said.
“We call for calm given the events taking place in Andahuaylas,” the National Police tweeted.
Students, workers and left-wing political parties held new rallies on Saturday evening in the capital Lima to demand the closure of Congress and to protest the ouster of Castillo.
Many roads remained blocked in the south of the country, where Castillo enjoys wide support, including the Pan-American Highway, leaving dozens of buses and cargo trucks stranded near the agricultural hubs of Ica and Arequipa.
Castillo had tried to head off Wednesday’s impeachment vote — the third against him since he took office 18 months ago — by dissolving the legislature and announcing he would rule by decree. But lawmakers voted to fire him anyway.
The prosecution accuses the left-wing rural teacher of rebellion and conspiracy, and a high court ordered him held for seven days in preliminary detention.
Castillo was taken into custody by his own security personnel Wednesday after his failed decree, as he headed to the embassy of Mexico to seek political asylum. On Thursday, he was placed in preventive detention.
The charges against Castillo carry a jail term of between 10 and 20 years.
Boluarte had been negotiating for three days over the formation of her government with conservative parties that dominate congress. Her leftist allies refused to take part after the ouster and arrest of Castillo.
Her intention to serve out his term has run into headwinds.
Protesters have expressed fierce rejection of congress and view Boluarte’s leadership as illegitimate.
A poll released in November said 86 percent of those questioned disapprove of the legislature.
“Dina Boluarte does not represent us because she is a usurper. We did not elect her,” said Maria Tolentino, a homemaker who took part in protests Friday in Lima.
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Lima on Friday for the second day, demanding Castillo’s release. On Thursday, police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators.