Riot Police Clashed with Protester Peasants in Paraguay
Asunción, Dec 18 (Prensa Latina) Riot police clashed today with hundreds of peasants protesting in the Paraguayan department of Misiones to force them to clear a strategic road they occupied due to late subsidies payment.
The Paraguayan peasants have blocked Route 1 at Santa Maria intersection for days and announced they will be there until they are paid the outstanding aid approved by the consequences of the drought. Until yesterday they kept interrupting the middle of the road, but today, they entirely closed it and the police tried to evict them, according to an ABC correspondent.
The police remained in the area, but the peasants still occupy half the road so they keep obstructing the flow of traffic. They questioned the Minister of Agriculture, Enzo Cadozo, who they blamed for the arrears and even the elimination of many families from the lists of beneficiaries with the plan. A reporter from the newspaper Ultima Hora estimated there are 1,300 protesters, thus there is a tense situation in the area.
2 die in Sierra Leone diamond miners’ strike
Reports from Sierra Leone’s eastern diamond-rich district of Kono say at least two people have died after a miners’ strike escalated into violence. Junior workers working with the Octea Diamond Mining Group are on an indefinite sit-down strike demanding better working conditions.
The disturbances started Saturday, and the strikers have since issued a 15-point demand, which includes a three-month bonus allegedly promised by the company. A leader of the striking workers was cited claiming that in March the senior management promised that if they were able to produce 35,000 carats of diamond within three months (April to June) they would get the three-month bonus. Octea is Israeli-owned, but the senior staff of the company in the West African country comprises mainly of white South Africans, whom the striking miners are alleging subject them to racist treatment. Other demands by the miners include risk allowance, social security benefits, as well as transportation for local staff.
Some reports say the protesters burned tyres near the offices of the company. The skirmishes escalated when the strikers reportedly stoned a motorcade carrying the current Mines minister, prompting police to respond with live rounds. This led to the imposition of a curfew in parts of the diamond-rich eastern district headquarters town of Koidu. Police spokesman Ibrahim Samura was in a meeting Tuesday afternoon and declined to comment on the development.