Monday, January 30, 2023

Peruvian farm workers lift roadblock as talks with government begin | News of the protests

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Three people in Peru have been killed this week in clashes with police over protests by workers demanding higher wages.

Protesting farm workers in Peru lifted a roadblock as talks with the government over a contentious farm law began on Friday after the death of three people during clashes with the police.

Workers, who demand higher wages, staged protests against the legislation passed on Tuesday.

Peruvian authorities said three people, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed in clashes with police during the protests, prompting workers to block the Pan-American highway about 500 km north of Lima, the capital city.

The presidency of the Peruvian council of ministers said in a tweet Friday that discussions have started in the city of Trujillo and will involve “active listening” on the part of the commission.

The government also announced that an investigation would be opened into the deaths during the protests and that the police chief of the La Libertad region would be removed from his post.

Farm workers protest for higher incomes in Viru, 510 km (317 miles) north of Lima, December 30, 2020 [Gian Mazco/AFP] (AFP)

The Ombudsman’s office said two protesters died from gunshot wounds during the blockade on Wednesday, while a 56-year-old man with cancer died in a vehicle blocked by the protest.

Television footage showed police firing tear gas and bird bullets to disperse protesters.

“We deplore and reject what happened in La Libertad,” Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti tweeted Thursday, pledging to “sanction the police officers who violated the ban on the use of firearms”.

Sagasti had called for a new dialogue between political parties and the three branches of government, saying the new law “did not satisfy any of the parties involved”.

The law increases the basic wages of farm workers by 30%, which were as low as 39 soles ($ 11) a day.

However, workers’ groups argue that the wage and benefit provisions are not high enough.


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