Tens of thousands of Peruvians marched against presidential front-runner Keiko Fujimori Tuesday on the anniversary of her authoritarian father’s most infamous power grab – forcing her to suspend campaign events ahead of Sunday’s elections. Protesters chanted “Never again!” and said a vote for center-right Fujimori would be a vote for ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 government. At least 30,000 took part in the protest in Lima – a sign of the stiff opposition to Fujimori that could make her vulnerable to defeat in a run-off. Fujimori is expected to win the biggest share of votes on April 10 but not the simple majority needed to win outright.
Many demonstrators derided Fujimori’s recent promise to never repeat her father’s “self coup” on April 5, 1992, when he order the military to shutter Congress and intervened in the courts. Fujimori had previously defended the move as needed to enact economic reforms.
“I don’t believe her at all,” said Rodolfo Lazo, a 19-year-old university student who had painted “I’m young but I’m not stupid” on his T-shirt.
Protesters also criticized the country’s electoral board for clearing Fujimori of allegations that she broke a law against vote-buying while disqualifying two leading rivals. “National Jury of Elections, National Shame!” one sign read.