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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007, 11:56 GMT
Peruvians march for death penalty
Shining Path victims' bodies
During the insurgencies Shining Path rebels would attack villages
Thousands of Peruvians have joined a march in Lima supporting a proposal to introduce the death penalty for members of the Shining Path rebel group.

Many of the crowd waved pictures of relatives killed by the Shining Path.

Last week President Alan Garcia suggested changing the constitution to allow a referendum on the issue after parliament rejected the proposal.

MPs argued that capital punishment would breach the American Convention on Human Rights, which Peru has signed.

Protesters from the Association of Families of Victims of Terrorism, who joined the march to Lima's government palace, said the majority of the population supported Mr Garcia.

Cries of "Peru wants the death penalty" and "justice for the victims" greeted Mr Garcia as he addressed the crowd.

Mr Garcia said he could not stop the clamour in favour of capital punishment for members of the group, whom he calls terrorists.

Compensation anger

Polls suggest that Mr Garcia's proposal does indeed have tremendous public support, but the Peruvian congress has voted to shelve the bill indefinitely.

The BBC Dan Collyns in Lima says the crowd which greeted Mr Garcia on Friday night shows that memories of the insurgencies in the 1980s and 1990s are still fresh in the minds of many Peruvians.

The issue has been inflamed by a recent ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that $20m (10.3m, 15.4m euros) in compensation be paid to the families of Shining Path guerrillas killed by government forces.

The fact that the names of those 41 suspected and convicted guerrillas are part of a new monument to the victims of the political violence has enraged many Peruvians.

Mr Garcia may have been defeated on this emotive issue in parliament, our correspondent says, but his insistence on a referendum on capital punishment is likely to boost his popularity with the general public.




SEE ALSO
Peru slams ruling on rebel rights
10 Jan 07 |  Americas
Fujimori judge rejects case delay
18 Nov 06 |  Americas
Peru Shining Path head gets life
14 Oct 06 |  Americas
Fujimori says he respected rights
23 May 06 |  Americas
Peru seeks Fujimori extradition
03 Jan 06 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Peru
25 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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