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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguay Cops Fire Rubber Bullets at Lawmakers, Protesters

ASUNCION – Two lawmakers were among the people wounded by police rubber bullets amid a protest Friday outside Paraguay’s Congress after a rump group of senators approved a constitutional change eliminating the one-term limit for presidents.

Congressmen Edgar Acosta and Efrain Alegre were struck by the rubber projectiles, Sen. Arnoldo Wiens, a member of the dissident wing of the governing Colorado Party, told reporters, adding that Senate chief Roberto Acevedo was shaken up when two of his bodyguards were shot by the cops.

The legislators came out of the building in a bid to defuse the situation after the police began firing rubber bullets to break up the protest, Wiens said.

But neither the bullets nor volleys from water cannon were enough to drive away the protesters and some members of the crowd hurled rocks at the cops.

The disturbances were sparked by the actions of 25 senators who held a session at the headquarters of former President Fernando Lugo’s Frente Guasu party to approve the proposed constitutional amendment.

The rump Senate comprised members of Frente Guasu and of the main body of incumbent President Horacio Cartes’ Colorado Party.

Embodying the saying that politics make strange bedfellows, the right-wing Colorados and the center-left Frente Guasu have joined forces to enable Cartes and Lugo to contest the 2018 presidential election.

Some 3,000 people, including lawmakers, marched in Asuncion on Thursday to denounce the effort to eliminate the one-term limit.

 

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