PROTESTERS SET PARAGUAY CONGRESS ON FIRE AMID PRESIDENTIAL CONTROVERSY

Asuncion; – Demonstrators in Paraguay have set fire to the country’s Congress amid violent protests against a bill that would let the president seek re-election.

Protesters stormed the legislature, breaking windows and fences in Asuncion on Friday night and setting fire to the interior.

Police used mounted units, rubber bullets, and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Local media reports said dozens of people had been injured, including protesters, politicians, and police officers.

The crowd took to the streets following a private meeting of 25 senators, a slight majority of the house, which approved a bill to amend the constitution.

The country’s 1992 constitution, introduced after 35 years of dictatorship, strictly limits the president to a single five-year term. But President Horactio Cartes is attempting to remove the restriction and run for re-election.

In a statement released on Twitter, President Cartes appealed for calm. “Democracy is not conquered or defended with violence and you can be sure this government will continue to put its best effort into maintaining order in the republic,” he said.

The bill must also be approved by the other house of parliament, the chamber of deputies, where President Cartes’ party holds a majority.

The chamber’s president, Hugo Velazquez said that the sitting planned for the following morning would no longer take place and no decision would be made on Saturday. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency

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