Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s former president, was pardoned by the current president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, for illegal searching, crimes against humanity, and embezzlement charges. This decision got condemned by both the U.N. and the International Amnesty.
Outraged, people in Lima took to the streets from December 24th to 26th to protest. Tear gas used to mobilize and disperse protester groups affected many individuals. At least one person got detained, and an 8-year-old girl was knocked out after she tripped during the commotion. She is currently healing in the hospital.
On Christmas, Aldair Mejia, a 19-year-old photography student, captured an image that got picked up by local media and even retweeted by the Peruvian Police force. “Police had thrown tear-gas bombs, and I was able to capture the moment amidst the confusion,” recalls Mejia in an interview with Latin CNN.
“An older woman was walking where the bombs had been thrown. I saw policemen looking over to where she was, and so I told one of them ‘help her, she might choke.’ The police went right over.” The woman was just a casualty to the tear-gas’ effects and was not taking part in the protest.
“I thought she was choking because she was coughing up phlegm,” Mejia explained. “The policeman gave her a handkerchief which I think had vinegar on it. He made her smell it, and the woman slowly calmed down.”
“As soon as I saw this I went to take the picture. There were no other photographers around, there were so many people out there protesting, but none other than me witnessed this moment. I took the picture. I was able to take many shots of it.”
Aldair was not able to speak either to the policeman or the woman. He ran away after taking the picture before the tear-gas got to him.
The Peruvian Police tweeted her photograph this Tuesday, thanking the Police officer for “rescuing the extent of our work. We are dedicated to serving all Peruvians. We protect order, the free execution of everyone’s human rights and monitor the safe development of all daily activities.”
Mejia says plenty of Peruvians don’t trust the police since some are known to abuse their power, but he is satisfied his picture was able to demonstrate “the work that they do, that not all of them are violent. It’s the humane face of the police force.”
This article was inspired by CNN ESPAÑOL // El gesto de un policiía con una mujer en una protesta en Perú se vuelve viral