Peru protest death toll hits five as fuel price rises stoke anger

By Marcelo Rochabrun

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian authorities said on Wednesday that a fifth person has died in recent anti-government protests sparked by rising fuel prices, a sign of how the global energy crunch linked to the war in Ukraine is stoking unrest in countries around the world.

Peru's ministry of the interior said a 25-year-old man had died and that it was investigating. A union representing agricultural workers in the southern Peruvian city of Ica said the man had died in clashes with police.

The protests were triggered by rising fuel and fertilizer costs due to sanctions on Russia, which invaded Ukraine in late February. The unrest has escalated in recent days, rattling the government of center-left President Pedro Castillo.

Authorities are struggling to unblock key highways that are essential for food supplies in Peru's largest cities. Castillo is also fending off calls for his resignation from the opposition and some influential local newspapers.

Castillo, who recently survived a second impeachment attempt less than a year into office, on Tuesday called off a mandatory curfew in Lima, the capital, that sought to stifle protests after thousands defied the order and took to the streets.

Those protests turned violent at night with looting reported in several government buildings.

(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Leslie Adler)