Masked gunmen killed a member of President Alberto Fujimori's party Saturday in the first slaying of a politician since Fujimori began his military-backed crackdown a week ago.
The attack against Congressional Deputy Ro-berto Lui Wu, apparently carried out by leftist guerrillas, raised concerns about a possible violent backlash to Fujimori's attempts to control dissent and crush drug traffickers and rebels.Former President Alan Garcia, in hiding since Fujimori's power move, called for civil disobedience in a letter to militants of his Aprista Party, whose members are believed to be well-armed.
Later, leaders of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies were released from house arrest.
Fujimori suspended the constitution, Congress and courts on April 5, saying corrupt and inept politicians and judges hampered his efforts to improve the economy and fight drug traffickers and the Shining Path leftist guerrillas.
Fujimori's actions were backed by the military and received widespread popular support but have been condemned by opposition groups and many foreign governments. The United States has suspended $45 million in new aid to Peru.
The Organization of American States plans to meet in Washington on Monday to discuss possible sanctions.
It was not immediately clear whether Wu's killing was in response to Fujimori's crackdown or was another attack in the 12 years of insurgent violence that have claimed more than 25,000 lives.
Wu was killed with three shots as he ate lunch in a market with his son. Two people at nearby tables were also killed, said witnesses.
Witnesses said there were at least six attackers, all wearing ski masks. Wu was a member of Fujimori's small Cambio 90 Party, organized during Fujimori's election campaign in 1990.
The manner of the attack indicated the killers were rebels, but it could not be immediately clear which of Peru's two guerrilla groups they belonged.
Soldiers had surrounded homes of some opposition lawmakers, but on Saturday left their guard of Senate President Felipe Osterling and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberto Ramirez del Villar.
Ramirez del Villar said he and Osterling went to Congress, but were prevented from entering by troops.
Lawmakers, meeting in a private session last week, picked their own president to challenge Fujimori and have received encouragement from Garcia, who was succeeded by Fujimori in 1990.
Garcia, in excerpts of the letter published in the daily La Republica, said "the interruption of democratic order must not detain our organizational and propaganda work."
The newspaper, which is sympathetic to Garcia, said the former president called for civil disobedience and what La Republica called "constitutional insurrection," but did not quote Garcia's text directly.