Authorities take stricter measures before Carnival in Peru begins


(LIP-ir) — As carnival in Peru begins, authorities are being stricter on what is permitted and what is not during the festive season.

Carnival in Peru, a celebration that takes place throughout the month of February, consists of people (usually youngsters) wetting each other during the entire month. While in some areas people only wet their friends and family, there are districts where everyone is a target.

Men, women, children and even moving vehicles become targets for young (and sometimes old) pranksters. With stricter measures, municipal authorities are attempting to keep unwanted and dangerous accidents from happening in their districts.

A few days before the carnival season begins, authorities have announced that anyone that inflicts bodily harm on a minor during carnival can face up to 10 years in prison.

If the person involved in the ‘attack’ is aware that they may cause bodily harm, this is punishable by law, said Luis Lamas Puccio, a UN National Correspondent for Peru in Criminal Law. Lamas explained that when adults were injured charges were up to eight years in prison.

On the other hand, if a minor is injured, charges can be up to 10 years. "Problems arise when, because of carnival, there are injuries and even deaths. If a water balloon is thrown at a vehicle, the motorist could lose control and die", assured the legal specialist.

The mayor of Rimac – a district in the Lima Province, directly to the north of downtown Lima – has prohibited carnival games in the streets of the historic district.

172-sol fines as well as community service are some of the punishments to be imposed on those that do not comply.

According to Peru’s national police, on the last Sunday of February 2007, 80 people had to be treated for injuries while 1,068 people were caught attacking pedestrians or vehicles – excusing themselves because it was carnival.

Those taking part in carnival use everything from buckets of water and water guns to balloons and hoses to wet each other. Paint and wax are also common items used during the carnival season.