LIMA, Peru — In a thunderous show of force, Shining Path guerrillas exploded a bus bomb that demolished a police station and killed the precinct chief, police said Thursday. It was the second major attack by the Maoist guerrillas since Sunday's civilian-military takeover.
President Alberto Fujimori said Wednesday night that one reason he seized authoritarian power, closing the Congress and courts, was to defend democracy against "terrorist barbarity."
Fujimori has said he needs tougher laws and more court convictions to effectively combat rebel terrorists. Fewer than 10% of those charged with terrorism have been convicted.
Shortly after Fujimori spoke, 200 pounds of dynamite in a bus blew up the police station in the Villa el Salvador shantytown on the edge of Lima, killing Maj. Guillermo Percovich and injuring at least 10 other people.
On Tuesday, suspected Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) assassins killed Alejandro Antunez de Mayolo, the son of a retired army general, gunning him down in his car on a central Lima street. They also killed his chauffeur.
On Thursday, the official gazette published decrees firing 13 of the 23 Supreme Court justices as well as members of a constitutional review panel and a judiciary council responsible for nominating new judges. The fired judges were appointed during the administration of Fujimori's predecessor and archrival, Alan Garcia, who went into hiding the night of the coup.
In his speech Wednesday night, Fujimori called the national Palace of Justice a "market where you could buy a Supreme Court justice for $20,000 to $50,000."
Despite sharp criticism of the coup by Fujimori's opponents, public opinion surveys this week showed support by more than 70% of those polled.
Since the coup, security forces have arrested eight congressmen, two union leaders, three regional government leaders, three former police officials, six lawyers and Garcia's former interior minister.
Long is a Times staff writer and Von Hagen a special correspondent.