ASUNCION – Hundreds of peasant and leftist activists marched in the Paraguayan capital on Monday to demand the resignation of President Horacio Cartes, who took office Aug. 15, 2013.
The protest was organized by the People’s Democratic Congress, a coalition of groups including the Guasu Front, led by ousted President Fernando Lugo.
Besides calling on Cartes and his entire Cabinet to step down, marchers denounced official corruption and a law on public-private partnerships that government opponents say is designed to facilitate back-door privatization of public assets and services.
The procession began in front of the Palace of Justice, where participants demanded the release of 11 sentenced last month to prison terms of up to 30 years for the so-called Curuguaty massacre, an armed clash in 2012 that resulted in 17 deaths and led to the impeachment and removal of then-President Lugo.
Controversy surrounded the year-long trial, which focused solely on the deaths of six police officers.
No one has been charged with the killings of the 11 peasants who died during the events of June 15, 2012, on the Morumbi property, a spread of 2,000 hectares (4,938 acres) in the eastern municipality of Curuguaty.
Lugo, a former Catholic bishop, was elected in 2008 at the head of a broad-based coalition in favor of reform in the poor, landlocked South American nation.
The protesters proceeded from the Palace of Justice to the square in front of Congress, where a succession of speakers denounced the policies of Cartes, a wealthy right-wing businessman.