Lima was on edge Thursday as thousands of protesters were expected in Peru’s capital for an anti-government rally following weeks of unrest that have left 44 people dead.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the dissolution of parliament and immediate fresh elections.

Police said they were on “maximum alert” and have deployed 11,800 officers in Lima ahead of expected trouble.

Two demonstrators died after clashes with police in the country’s south on Wednesday, bringing the death toll from the protests to 44, according to Peru’s human rights ombudsman.

The South American country has been rocked by more than a month of protests, mostly in the southern and eastern areas, since the ouster and arrest of Boluarte’s predecessor Pedro Castillo in December.

On Wednesday, a 35-year-old woman was killed in the southern Puno region, according to a hospital statement.

A second person, named as Salomon Valenzuela by the ombudsman’s office, died of his injuries on Thursday.

Images shared on social media also showed a torched police station in the town of Macusani, where the flashpoint happened.

A local television station said officers were rescued by helicopter.

Thousands of protesters from rural areas are trying to keep up pressure on the government, defying a state of emergency declared to maintain order.

“We have 11,800 police officers in the streets to control unrest, we have more than 120 vans and 49 military vehicles, and also the armed forces are participating,” said Lima police chief Victor Zanabria.

Protesters are undeterred, though.

“We are coming to make our voices heard. We are tremendously forgotten,” villager Edwin Condori, 43, from the Cusco region, told AFP.

One of Peru’s biggest labor unions, the General Confederation of Workers, has called a strike for Thursday, though there were no visible signs of such a strike in Lima.


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