Campesinos in Paraguay clashed with police as they were prevented from continuing a march in Asuncion, demanding a vote on a law to restructure the debt of small workers.
The rural workers have set up a camp on the square facing congress but national police have systematically denied them the right to march towards the center of the capital.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. they set out to march but the national police prevented them from leaving the area. A police barrier stopped the people, who had to return to the square.
The so-called marchodromo law, says demonstrations in the capital city are allowed from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, from Monday to Friday, and on Sundays and holidays from 6:00 a.m. and only for 24 hours.
At daytime groups of no more than 50 people can meet in front of the Government palace to deliver petitions, but they can't block streets, bridges, railways or public roads.
"They talk a lot about dictatorship, but in a democracy, the law rules and we are going to enforce the current rule of the 'marchodromo' until we have legislation that says otherwise," Amado Cantero, representative of the police said.
Notwithstanding these repressive laws, the campesinos have been protesting to demand that the legislative branch address the veto of the executive to the financial rehabilitation bill for small producers.
The law aims to fund and restructure the debts of small Campesinos — defined as owners of less than 30 hectares — with compensation of up to US$10,000 per person.
"Unfortunately the government passes on the dialogue and puts in response the repressive apparatus, it's something that can't be tolerated. It's not the answer that the Paraguayan society wishes," campesino leader Jorge Galeano said.
Galeano pointed out that the recent education marches didn't have the same restrictions.