Paraguay: Gov’t Tries to Halt Protests by Using Excessive Force

Officers used lethal ammunition to suppress protests against lockdown.

July 30, 2020.- Paraguay’s police and military Wednesday deployed excessive force against citizens who were protesting the return to full quarantine in Ciudad del Este.

Last night, Paraguayans called for a peaceful demonstration in this city, which is the capital of the Alto Parana department and the main place where cross-border trade with Brazil takes place.

As the hours passed, however, the security forces tried to disperse the population and thus generated violent incidents in the Customs area, where vehicles were burned and some businesses were looted, as reported by local outlet E’a.

The Interior Minister Euclides Acevedo told reporters that the situation “was under control.” Social organizations, however, reported that at least 50 people had been arrested.

“Military Forces are using lethal ammunition to suppress the protests… we demand from President Mario Abdo Benitez the immediate withdrawal of the military from the streets and the cessation of the disproportionate use of force by the National Police,” Paraguay’s Human Rights Coordinator (Codehupy) stated.

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Previously, due to the inability of the conservative government to control the spread of the pandemic, the Health Ministry was forced to reinstate strict prevention measures in Alto Parana, a department that concentrates 40 percent of people killed from COVID-19 and the 30 percent of confirmed cases.

As of Thursday morning, Paraguay had reported 4,866 COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths.

Feature image: Citizens protests against look down, Ciudad de Este, Paraguay, July 29, 2020.