At the turn of the 20th century the university was a locus for social and political protest in Peru. Professors and student activists called for university reform, education of the masses, agrarian reform, and the rights of the worker and indigenous populations. A significant protest was mounted in Lima by University of San Marcos students in 1909 to protest the dictatorship of Augusto Leguía (1908-1912; 1919-1930). In 1916, the student organization formed the Peruvian Student Federation (FEP) incorporating students from all of Peru’s universities to direct future student protests.
Today Villa El Salvador is a squatting community on the Southern outskirts of Lima, Peru, and is home to about 400,000 people. The shantytown, which was born of a small land invasion in 1971, has been recognized internationally as the largest continuously squatted area in the world.
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).