A crisis has developed in Peru on Friday as the protests against the newly-installed President and government continue to intensify further, with marginalized groups of the country using this opportunity to make their anger known after the ousting and arrest of leader Pedro Castillo.

Over 20 people have been killed in clashes with Peru’s security forces in the southern mountain region of Ayacucho, an impoverished area which heavily voted for Castillo during the last election. Eight were reportedly shot to death on Thursday as violence between the people and the government increased, according to the Washington Post.

Many marginalized, rural groups who had voted for Castillo–a rural schoolteacher who had no formal experience in politics before becoming President, have angrily returned to the streets to voice their opposition against the government of new President Dina Boluarte and Congress, Reuters reported.

Though the goals of the protesters have varied, most of them are in agreement that they want new elections for the country, and they want the current controversial members of Peru’s Congress to step down from their positions.

The protests have gone violent, with many of Castillo’s supporters blocking highways, setting buildings on fire, and even taking airports in the area over as their protests continue to rattle a fragile government whose turnover of leadership in recent years has included six new presidents in five years.

“Nobody represents me now,” the 60-year-old farmer Leopoldo Huamani said, as he protests for the resignation of Boluarte and blames the government for the increasing amount of protest-related deaths thus far.

“Castillo is our president, elected by humble, working people from the countryside. He represented us. He understood our struggles, our needs,” tailor Alfonso Nahuinche said.

Boluarte has refused to resign since the protests began, instead putting her efforts into speeding up the upcoming elections in the country and attempting to calm protesters down. She has been able to do neither, as the Congress that installed her as President struck down a bill that would allow elections to happen as soon as next year, the BBC reported.

Two ministers, Education Minister Patricia Correa and Culture Minister Jair Perez, resigned from their positions on Friday due to the violence done by the state against the protesters.

Supporters of former Peru president Pedro Castillo protest
Supporters of former Peru president Pedro Castillo protest in front of the prison where he is being held after he was arrested and accused of rebellion and conspiracy. Photo by: AFP/Cris Bouroncle

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