LIMA/NEW YORK, January 26, 2023—Since the ousting of former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo in December 2022, Peru has been rocked by intense political protests. These have been met with a violent response by the military and security forces, with dozens killed and over 1,200 people wounded. A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mobile team is providing medical and psychological care to the victims of the violence in Lima.
"We are running an advanced medical post to treat people injured during the demonstrations," said the team's coordinator, Luz Guarniz. "We’ve been choosing strategic locations where we expected a concentration of protesters."
From January 19 to 24, the MSF team treated 73 patients suffering from exposure to tear gas, pellet wounds, contusions or psychological distress.
A 34-year-old MSF patient gave the following account: "I came with some friends to join the protests. We were walking a couple of blocks from here when we saw people fleeing. We started running too and were shot at from behind—I was shot in my heel [with a pellet gun] as I was retreating. Shooting us didn’t make any sense."
Another MSF patient gave this account: "I’ve been protesting against corruption since the demonstration started. I’m 70 years old. I was hurting from the [tear] gas and as I made my way back to Plaza San Martín. I found myself in the middle of another tumult, and more tear gas and pellets were fired. I felt something hit my left temple and feared that the pellet had penetrated, but thank God it hadn’t."