A congress building in Paraguay has been set in fire by protesters after adoption of an amendment to the country’s constitution.
Protesters in Paraguay have set a congress building on fire after adoption of an amendment that would allow current President Horacio Cartes to be re-elected for another term, the Todo Noticias TV-channel reported.
According to the TV-channel, a group of protesters broke into the parliament building in Asuncion and started to set fire to various items. Reportedly, as a result of the riots, several people, including one deputy, were injured. BBC Mundo reported about 28 persons, who were wounded near the parliament building.
According to the EFE news agency, Paraguayan policemen shot dead a man in the building of a local party. As chairman of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, Ephrain Alegre, told the news agency, police “barbarically” burst into their building in the center of the city and began to shoot at demonstrators, who were inside. As a result, one young man was killed, several more people were seriously wounded.
An immediate reason for the riots was the voting of 25 senators, who approved amendments to the country’s constitution, authorizing a reelection of the country’s president. For 25 years, the Paraguayan legislation prohibited the country’s president from running again. Adopting the appropriate legislative norm, Paraguay argued that “a five-year presidential term is sufficient, the second presidential term inevitably leads to a dictatorship, and Paraguay already experienced it in its history.”
The Paraguayan President also urged citizens to remain calm. “In view of the acts of vandalism committed near the National Congress building, I urge citizens to remain calm and not to be influenced by initiators of acts of violence and bloodshed,” Cartes wrote on his Twitter.
According to the President, the fire in the congress building once again demonstrated that protesters “do not stint in the means to achieve their goal – destruction of the democracy and political and economic stability in the country.”
“I call on all my fellow citizens to a dialogue and respect in the face of the existing differences,” Cartes wrote. The President also stressed that democracy “cannot be captured and cannot be supported by violent methods.”