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Peruvians Commemorate Fujimori Coup, Protest Rise of Heir

  • VOA News

A man holds a sign during a protest against presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and against the 1992 coup by her father, former President Alberto Fujimori, in downtown Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

A man holds a sign during a protest against presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and against the 1992 coup by her father, former President Alberto Fujimori, in downtown Lima, Peru, Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Tens of thousands of Peruvians gathered in Lima and other cities Tuesday for an annual protest that, this year, was also aimed at the presidential campaign of Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peru's jailed ex-president.

Protesters shouted "Never again!" as they commemorated the anniversary of Alberto Fujimori's "self-coup" in 1992 when, after two years in the presidency, he suspended the constitution, intervened in the courts, and ordered the Peruvian military to shut down the legislature. Fujimori defended the move as the best way to neutralize special interest groups and enact economic reforms.

Fujimori served until 2000 but met with widespread protests when he tried to start a third term following elections that were criticized as fraudulent. He fled to Japan, was later extradited to Peru, and was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for corruption and human rights abuses, which included authorizing "death squads" to enforce his authority.

Daughter Keiko Fujimori, a 40-year-old conservative, is seen as the front-runner in the upcoming April 10 election. But polls predict she will not get the simple majority of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.

Keiko Fujimori's critics fear she will reinstate the authoritarian rule for which her father is remembered.

She ran unsuccessfully against President Ollanta Humala in 2011. Humala is stepping down this year because of term limits.

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