LIMA, Peru (AP) – University student Yessenia Medina was trying to concentrate on her virtual psychology class when a stunning headline popped up on her screen: Peru’s Congress had voted to oust the nation’s popular president.
Furious, the 23-year-old joined the thousands of students, workers and others protesting this week, decrying Congress and refusing to recognize the new president, Manuel Merino.
“I think they removed him out of their own personal interests rather than those of the people,” she said. “Legislators are supposed to watching out for the good of all.”
Peru’s Congress voted overwhelmingly to remove now ex-President Martín Vizcarra on Monday, complaining about his handling of the pandemic and accusing him of corruption. The shock vote drew condemnation from international rights groups who warned that the powerful legislature may have violated the constitution and jeopardized Peru’s democracy.
The move has also sparked protests unlike any seen in recent years, fueled largely by young people typically apathetic to