Two more people were killed in week-long clashes in Lima, bringing the death toll to four as police battled locals to shut down a market. Over 100 were arrested in what the mayor dubbed a mission to bring order to a neighborhood of “chaos and filth.”
Violence in Lima over the past week has claimed a total of four lives as city authorities attempted to close the newly established market 'La Parada.' The city council increased the police presence in the area in a bid to stem the riots.
“We have deployed 5,000 police officers – 3,200 in the market itself and 1,200 on the border of the Gamarra trading area [La Parada],” chief of police Raul Salazar said.
“Two people were transferred from the market to the hospital with injuries,” Salazar told local media, adding that the victims reportedly died later from apparent shooting injuries. The police chief said that officers had not been authorized to use firearms to disperse the rioters.
Two other individuals also died on Thursday when police attempted to block the entrance of the market by erecting a concrete wall. Merchants and protesters responded angrily, pelting police with stones and bottles. Police beat the crowds back with batons and managed to install the blockades..
A group of market traders are currently holed up in the center of the market in protest.
Mayor of Lima Susana Villaran glossed over the deaths, hailing the operation as a “milestone” in an ongoing process to bring order to the neighborhood. She argued that the area was a haven for delinquents and ruffians who profited off the chaos and disorder at the market.
“The police are reestablishing order and authority in an area where there has only been filth, disorder, chaos and insecurity,” Villaran said.
City authorities maintained that the market is a hive for criminal activity, and is used to peddle stolen goods and contraband. They hope to move the market's legitimate businesses to another location in Lima's Santa Anita district.
Salazar said that officers throughout the Peruvian capital are on high alert should the violence spill over into other neighborhoods of the city.
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