Row over Paraguay dictator Alfredo Stroessner's remains

Gen Alfredo Stroessner Gen Stroessner led Paraguay between 1954 and 1989

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Activists and former political prisoners in Paraguay have staged a demonstration against a proposal to repatriate the remains of former military ruler Gen Alfredo Stroessner.

Gen Stroessner is buried in Brazil, where he died in exile in 2006.

His surviving relatives had wanted to repatriate his remains ahead of 3 November, the centenary of his birth.

In 2008, a truth commission said that more than 400 people had been executed or disappeared during his 35-year rule.

The commission also found that almost 20,000 were imprisoned during his rule.

Gen Stroessner took refuge in Brasilia after he was deposed in a coup in 1989 carried out by another general, Andres Rodriguez.

One of his grandsons, a senator also called Alfredo, said efforts were continuing to have Gen Stroessner's remains laid to rest in his country of birth.

"Obviously he won't be here by 3 November, but soon the whole Stroessner family will be together in Paraguay," he said.

'Never again'

However, the plan has drawn fierce criticism from human rights activists and those targeted under Gen Stroessner's regime.

Hundreds of people joined the protest march in the capital, Asuncion.

"The protest is not just against the repatriation of his remains, it's against efforts to rehabilitate Stroessner's policy of state terrorism," Luis Casabianca, a former political prisoner and former militant of Paraguay's Communist Party, told the Efe news agency.

"We won't allow the rehabilitation of Stroessner's legacy", said one of the banners carried by the demonstrators. Others read: "Stroessner, never again!"

During Mr Stroessner's government, Paraguay took part in Operation Condor, a campaign of state-terror and security operations which were jointly conducted by the right-wing military governments of six Latin American countries (Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil) in the 1970s.

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