Peruvian Workers Protest for Higher Pay

by Chris Sturr | May 29, 2009

From the Latin American Herald Tribune:

LIMA – Thousands of workers demonstrated in different Peruvian cities to demand improvements in their economic situation and support the demands of Amazon Indians, who have been conducting protests for 48 hours against land and resource laws they say threaten their way of life.

In Lima, the march organized by the CGTP labor federation attracted about 5,000 participants and transpired peacefully.

Demonstrators marched to Congress chanting slogans such as “Let the rich pay for the crisis, not the people.”

CGTP general secretary Mario Huaman said that the main objective of the mobilization is to demand that the government provide “the solution to the Amazon strike and the repeal of the decrees” that the Indians feel hurt their rights to the land.

“If the government does not solve the different conflicts that exist on the national level, we’re going to radicalize the measures of struggle,” he warned.

Other aims of the protesters included asking for salary and pension hikes to compensate them for the rise in the cost of living, as well as the nullification of several measures that criminalize protests, the union leader said.

With regard to the timing of the general strike announced in March by the CGTP to protest the government’s policy, Huaman said that the federation will announce the date in two weeks, but it will most probably be held in July.

In the southern city of Cuzco, Canal N television said that the city was practically paralyzed by Wednesday’s demonstrations, which affected schools, public transport and the transportation of tourists to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, Peru’s premier tourist attraction.

The most serious demonstrations occurred in the northeastern Amazon city of Iquitos, where 11 people were injured on Thursday and 20 were arrested in confrontations with police.

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