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News > Latin America

Paraguay: Police Unleash Repression Against Indigenous People

  • Citizen protesting in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sept. 30, 2021.

    Citizen protesting in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sept. 30, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @SoyNuevaPrensa

Published 1 October 2021

Political tension rose sharply after the Abdo government arrested one of the leaders of the protests, Derlis Lopez.

On Thursday, Paraguayan police brutally attacked Indigenous people outside Congress, where they were protesting a bill that increases prison terms for land occupiers.


Paraguayans Reject President Abdo's Anti-Invasion Bill

Officers used rubber bullets to repress the protesters, who defended themselves with stones and arrows. 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.

Lopez acted as the demonstrators' main spokesman. On Thursday, he was identified by the police and promptly arrested.

"They never solved the land problem, and they want to make us look like criminals. More peoples would arrive in the capital to protest if the law is enacted. We will not shut up anymore,” Lopez said the day before his capture.

On Wednesday, a day which was also characterized by police brutality against citizens, the Lower House 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 bill is repudiated by peasant and Indigenous organizations because it was developed to criminalize the struggle for their legitimate right to the land.


Derlis Lopez
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