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Historic building catches fire in Peru's capital amid anti-government protests

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 20,2023
(AA Photo)

A historic building in the center of Peru's capital Lima caught fire late Thursday a few meters from the iconic Plaza San Martin, where thousands of demonstrators gathered to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and the closure of Congress.

During a large national strike organized by a workers' confederation, protesters clashed with police in Plaza San Martin when flames began to raze the building.

Some residents in the area said the fire was caused by tear gas bombs thrown by police to break up the protesters.

"They threw tear gas bombs on the roof and the fire started," said the son of the owner of the building that caught fire, blaming the police for causing the incident.

The building, which is 500 square meters (5,382 square feet), is considered a cultural heritage site.

Firefighters continued trying to control the blaze.

In the southern city of Arequipa, around 1,000 protesters tried to storm the airport but were confronted by police firing tear gas.

Two people were killed and another was injured by gunfire amid protests Wednesday in Lima, bringing the overall death toll to 53 since the protests began.

Peru has been the scene of violent protests since former President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested after he attempted to dissolve Congress and rule by decree in an effort to avoid impeachment over allegations of corruption.

Boluarte has said she is not willing to step down.