SANTIAGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – At least 20 people were arrested during a one-day strike organized by grassroots groups in more than 40 towns and cities in the Dominican Republic’s northern province of Santiago to demand better services.
Police used tear gas and shotguns to break up protests Wednesday in the city of San Jose de las Matas, as well as in the towns of Inoa, El Rubio, La Cuesta, La Bosua and Entrada de Janico, to demand road repairs, an end to blackouts and improved water service.
Community leaders Luis Jaquez and Antony Almonte said four of those arrested, among them protest organizers, were beaten by police.
Protest organizers contend that the highway linking San Jose de las Matas to the city of Moncion is nearly impassable, while water and power service are deficient.
Protesters set fire to tires and cut down trees to block the highway linking Santiago and Santiago Rodriguez provinces in the northern and northwestern parts of the country, Jaquez and Almonte said.
Demonstrators and police also clashed Wednesday in the northern city of Salcedo, where a strike started a day earlier to demand better infrastructure and services.
Some merchants tried to open for business but were forced by protesters, some of whom wore hoods, to close.
A government commission, meanwhile, said it would seek the release of the arrested protesters in an effort to end the demonstrations.
The two-day strike in the northern province of Monseñor Nouel, where protests left at least one injured and more than 25 others under arrest, ended on Wednesday. EFE