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Peruvians campaign to overthrow Dictator Alberto Fujimori (The March of the Four Directions), 2000
Alberto Fujimori took office in 1990. Soon Fujimori engaged in a brutal crusade using anti-human rights measures to attempt to break down terrorist groups (Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement). And on April 5, 1992, Peruvians witnessed how their president, Alberto Fujimori, with the aid of armored tanks on the streets, unconstitutionally dissolved the Congress of the Republic. Nevertheless, 80 percent of the population still backed the president after the auto-golpe (self-coup). After the self-coup, Fujimori created a constitution in 1993 and won another election on April 1995. Every April 5th after 1992, groups of demonstrators, generally students, would assemble in order to protest the self-coup, but in general the public supported the man who seemed have made Chile a safer place by using any measure to bring down terrorism.
During the election campaign of 2000, Vladmiro Montesinos, Fujimori's chief advisor was investigated due to a reporter's discovery of secret tapes of Montesinos bribing congressmen, other allegations of his abuse of human rights and harassment of Fujimori's political opponents. After this surfaced, the international community and Chilean politicians also began to question Fujimori's rule.
On July 27, 2000, La Marcha de los Quatro Suyos or the March of the Four Directions began. About 20,000 demonstrators, from the four corners of Peru and many of whom had to travel by bus for several days, peacefully marched down the streets of Peru’s capital, Lima, to protest against Fujimori’s illegal third term election. Peasants and city-dwellers alike shouted "¡Abajo la dictadura!" ("Down with Dictatorship!") and paraded all day long. That evening, reportedly 100,000 demonstrators convened in the Paseo de la República, one of Lima’s principal avenues. The leader of the opposition movement and the organizer of this campaign, Alejandro Toledo, had arrived in Lima two days prior to this demonstration. The organizer had anticipated that the gathering would be massive and without violence.
On July 28, Peru’s independence day, Fujimori was to be sworn into office for the third time. Some groups of demonstrators turned to violence once police impeded their way to the Presidential Palace and Congress. These groups rioted and the burned the Ministry of Education as well as other National Buildings. Six security guards died by asphyxiation in the National Bank fire. The organizers of the march, however, suspected that infiltrators from the police provoked the violence; the evidence is not clear on either side of the issue. Regardless, Fujimori used these happenings in order to discredit the campaign for democracy as a whole, claiming that Toledo’s sympathizers were in league to burn down the Congress building. However, the social unrest was a marker of Fujimori’s end.
The continuing disclosure of governmental secretive crimes led to the government's loss of legitimacy. On September 16, 2000, the National Intelligence Agency filed an investigation against President Fujimori; Fujimori left the country the day after.
On November 20, 2000, Fujimori faxed in his letter of resignation from Japan. In 2005, the ex-president was arrested. In April of 2009, the president was convicted of committing human rights abuses during his presidency and sentenced to 25 years of prison. Fujimori is expected to file an appeal. Interestingly, much of the population continues to support Fujimori, for his strict methods did lower terrorism and ameliorate the economy.
Although, a direct correlation between the campaign and Fujimori's fall are not entirely clear, perhaps the threats of investigation on Fujimori coupled with social pressures made up the causes of Fujimori's resignation.