Over 100 protesters have been injured and more than 300 arrested after police quarreled an anti-Government demonstration in Asuncion, the country's capital, on Tuesday. In a short clash, some 2,000 riot police and Special Forces ended an all-night demonstration demanding the resignation of President Luis Gonzalez Macchi.
Many of the marchers expressed their support of Lino Oviedo, a former Armed Forces chief accused of being involved in the assassination of an ex-Vice President of the country and currently living in exile in Brazil. Some of them had camped out for days on the main Asuncion plaza in front of the ornate pink colonial legislature building.
Protesters blamed President Gonzalez Macchi for corruption and responsibility for the economic recession lashing this landlocked South American country. After refusing to leave the city's main square, police started to fire tear gas and water cannons to break up the crowd. In turn, flying stones and debris during the melee hit at least 11 police officers, Police Chief Sixto Ramirez said.
Paraguay is facing serious political disturbs since the political and economical crisis tends to aggravate. Besides, its economy mainly based on agricultural production and contraband has slumped in the last years pushing millions into poverty.
Consequently, popular uprisings, massive protests and military insubordination have constantly threatened a fragile democratic order. In July, a similar protest had forced Government to decree the State of Emergency after two days of riots that led to 300 arrests and one death.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.RU Argentina
Photo: Dramatic scenes during Anti - Government protests in Paraguay (Associated Press)