Latin America & Caribbean

Paraguay president sacks top officials after protests

A woman looks through damaged windows of the Congress building a day after a demonstration against a possible change in law to allow for presidential re-election in Asuncion, Paraguay, April 1, 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Shops and government buildings were vandalised in the protests

Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes has sacked the interior minister and the chief of police after violent protests on Friday against a bill that would allow the president to run for a second term in office.

The protesters stormed the Congress and set fire to the building.

The authorities have arrested four police officers after a protester, Rodrigo Quintana, was killed.

Political leaders on Saturday paid their respects to the dead man.

His body was laid out at the headquarters of the opposition Liberal party in the capital, Asuncion.

They condemned the killing and called for an investigation into his death.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption One man died during protests against a bill allowing the president to run for a second term
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Protesters stormed and set fire to the congress building in Asuncion

Around 200 protesters were detained but many have since been released.

The protesters had taken to the streets following a private meeting of 25 senators - a slight majority of the house - which approved a bill to amend the constitution.

Paraguay was controlled by military ruler General Alfredo Stroessner, who seized power in a coup, from 1954 until 1989.

The current constitution, created in 1992 after the dictatorship, limits the head of state to a single five-year term.

Protesters were angered by the bill which would have allowed President Cartes' to remove the restriction and run for re-election.

An opposition senator, Desiree Masi, called the move a coup and called on supporters to resist it.

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

President Cartes' term is due to end in 2018.

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