A violent protest in Huancavelica has left 19 police officers and two journalists injured as protesters held four police officers hostage.
Protesters in the Tayacaja province of Huancavelica state blocked the highway which links Huancayo to Huancavelica and Ayacucho in an indefinite protest which started on Tuesday. They demand the opening of the National Autonomous University of Tayacaja in the provincial capital of Pampas.
When police attempted to clear the highway of rocks early Wednesday morning, they were overwhelmed by protesters armed with rocks and bricks. Two police officers were severely beaten and are in critical condition. Four more were held hostage by the protesters.
“About 300 police officers are in charge of controlling the situation,” said a Canal N reporter. “However, they are outnumbered against some 3,000 protesters from Tayacaja.”
A government official has confirmed a plan for talks with the protesters and Huancavelica governor Glodoaldo Alvarez. The four officers were released this morning.
In 2011, during the final weeks of President Alan Garcia’s term, the region saw violent protests over the same university which killed four and injured 22. National University of Huancavelica students held massive protests when it was announced that the newly created university in Tayacaja would offer some of the same fields of study and be funded by the National University of Huancavelica.
Tayacaja residents also led protests to demand a separate budget from the national government. The Tayacaja protesters briefly occupied the Mantaro hydroelectric dam in the area. This week’s protest halted work on the Cerro de Aguila hydroelectric power station.
Five years later, the university has still not been inaugurated.
Peru’s central state of Huancavelica has a population of 495,000. Just under 108,000 live in the Tayacaja province, with 11,000 in the city of Pampas. Four thousand students are expected to attend the National Autonomous University of Tayacaja.
Tayacajinos no votarán si Gobierno no crea una Universidad (La Republica)