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  HOME | Peru

Peruvians Block Highway to Protest Toll Hike

LIMA Ė Hundreds of area motorists and truck drivers set tires and toll booths on fire Thursday to block a stretch of highway in Peruís capital to protest a recent toll increase.

The private company that operates the road under a concession from the Peruvian government, Rutas de Lima, announced last month that it was increasing the toll by 0.50 soles (14 cents) to recoup its investment.

After blocking the road with piles of burning tires, the protesters set toll booths ablaze.

Police responded with tear gas, while some journalists on the scene said they heard shots fired. Several protesters were arrested and confrontations between cops and demonstrators continued even after the highway was re-opened.

People taking part in the mobilization told state news agency Andina that the toll increase is unfair because they have to pay both to enter and leave the district in north Lima.

The road is the sole route available for thousands of area residents.

Protesters also complained about the suspension of public transportation between their neighborhood and downtown Lima.

Spokespeople for Rutas de Lima said in comments to RPP radio that the toll increase was included in the contract signed with the municipal government in 2013.

Peruís national ombudsman, Walter Gutierrez, made an appeal for calm and said that his office would soon issue a statement pointing out the absence of any regulatory body overseeing infrastructure concessions.

Rutas de Lima is a subsidiary of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, which recently admitted to having paid $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials between 2005 and 2014.

 

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