Paraguay: march against US troops

Some 500 people, mostly students, marched in Asuncion, Paraguay, on June 17 to protest the presence of US troops in the country. The protesters marched along the Avenida Mariscal Lopez; they tried to reach the US embassy but were blocked by some 100 riot police. The marchers instead rallied at the intersection of two avenues, where they burned US flags and an effigy of US president George W. Bush and demanded the departure of US troops from Paraguay and Latin America. The protesters held signs reading “Yankees tapeho,” meaning “Yankees go home” in Guarani, the main indigenous language of Paraguay. Protests against the US troops are held on the 17th of every month; the June action was larger than usual because it coincided with the final day of the Paraguayan session of the Bolivarian People’s Congress, which began in Asuncion on June 13.

Last year President Nicanor Duarte gave permission for 400 US troops to be in Paraguay on 13 different missions between June 1, 2005, and Dec. 1, 2006. Congress ratified the decision in May 2005, provoking ongoing protests by student, grassroots, union and social organizations. (Congreso Bolivariano de los Pueblos, June 18 from EFE; La Gaceta, Tucuman, June 17 from DPA; AP , June 17)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 18

See our last post on Paraguay.