ASUNCION – Hundreds of Paraguayans marked Human Rights Day with a march through downtown Asuncion on Saturday to demand agrarian reform and denounce land evictions.
Escorted by National Police officers, the demonstrators shouted slogans in favor of land reform and in support of families evicted in September from the Guahory colony in central Paraguay.
The families were evicted by more than 1,500 police, who acted without a court order and violated people’s human rights to housing, food, water and security, the Coordinator of Human Rights in Paraguay, a non-governmental organization, said then.
The marchers also demanded the release of peasants sentenced 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 Fernando 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.
Four men were sentenced in July to between 18-30 years in prison, while several others were sentenced to shorter terms and released for time served.
Paraguay is one of the countries of the world with the most unequal distribution of land, with one percent of big farms occupying over 70 percent of the land, aid group Oxfam said in a report late last month.