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News > Latin America

Paraguayans Reject President Abdo's Anti-Invasion Bill

  • Paraguayan police, Asuncion, Paraguay, Sept. 29, 2021

    Paraguayan police, Asuncion, Paraguay, Sept. 29, 2021 | Photo: Twitter/ @Nexo_Latino

Published 30 September 2021
Opinion

The government wants to modify the Penal Code to increase penalties against those who occupy private rural properties.

Since Wednesday, Paraguayan Indigenous communities are gathered in Asuncion's Main Square. They are requesting that President Mario Abdo revokes the bill that increases prison sentences for land invasions.

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"We already put a deadline on it. He only has 24 hours left. If the President has Paraguayan heart and Guarani blood, he should veto this law, which attacks the Indigenous peoples", a citizen said.

On Thursday, Indigenous leaders are expected to hold a press conference to present their claims and announce the next actions they will take.

"For us this is a life and death struggle," the Canindeyu community leader Julian Ramirez said, adding that protests in Asuncion will continue until the Abdo listen to their demands.

In the surroundings of the Congress, Indigenous peoples have been camping for days. Things escalated on Wednesday when the National Police dispersed citizens with water cannons.

The Abdo’s bill seeks to amend the Penal Code so that the invasion of private property is punished with six years of imprisonment. If that invasion results in damage to assets, the penalty could be up to 10 years.

In Paraguay, however, the history of attacks has another dimension not pointed out by the State. Large companies have stripped Indigenous peoples of their lands, forcing their members to migrate to the cities where they often live in very poor conditions.

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