Paraguayan police attacked indigenous people outside Congress, where they were protesting a bill that increases prison terms for land occupiers.
The indigenous people in Paraguay believe that the sitting President Mario Abdo will never solve the land problem. Thus, the presidential office wants to make the indigenous people look like criminals. To avoid the suppression, more people would arrive in the capital to protest if the law is enacted.
Earlier this week, the Lower House of Paraguay passed a bill that increases prison sentences for land invasions to up to 10 years. Now it is up to President Abdo to enact or reject it. The draft law is repudiated by peasant and indigenous organizations because it was developed to criminalize the struggle for their legitimate right to the land.
On Friday, police officers used rubber bullets to repress the protesters, who defended themselves with stones and arrows, teleSUR reports. So far, at least 19 indigenous people have been injured.
The climate of tension climbed sharply because President Mario Abdo’s administration ordered the arrest of one of the leaders of the protests, Derlis Lopez, who had been camping in the area around the Arms Square.