Paraguay Congress Set on Fire as Election Protests Turn Deadly
Albanian Daily News
Published April 1, 2017
Protesters set tyres on fire

Demonstrators in Paraguay have set fire to the country's parliament during violent protests against a bill that would lift presidential term limits.

One activist was killed by a blow to the head which the opposition blamed on a rubber bullet fired by police.

Under the 1992 constitution, introduced after the dictatorship, a head of state may only serve a single five-year term.

But sitting President Horacio Cartes is trying to remove the restriction and run for re-election.

Protesters were photographed smashing in windows of the congress building in the capital, Asuncion, on Friday night and setting fire to the interior.

Protesters "ransacked" the offices of those who had backed the bill, AFP news agency reports.

Police used rubber bullets, mounted units and water cannons to disperse the crowd. A number of people were injured, with AFP saying about 30 had been hurt, including three lawmakers and a senator.

Santi Carneri, a journalist in Asuncion, told the BBC the congress building had burnt for "more than one or two hours".

There were "a lot of battles between people and the police in the streets", he said, adding that it was the worst violence of its kind since Paraguay became a democracy in 1992.

Opposition activist Rodrigo Quintana, 25, was killed by a rubber bullet fired by police when they stormed the offices of the opposition Liberal party, party leader Efrain Alegre told Efe news agency.

"The police barged in, threw people face down to the ground," according to Mr Alegre, who was also hurt. "They came in aggressively, breaking the doors, it was savagery."

Herminio Ruiz, the doctor who treated Mr Quintana, told Efe the victim had received a blow to his head, although did not specify what had caused the injury.

Police have launched an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.

(Source: BBC)

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