Peru protesters clash with police

Skirmishes erupt during national strike over economic policies and rising prices.

    Thousands took to the streets to protest against rising living costs [AFP]

    Jorge del Castillo, a cabinet member, told reporters that a government office was also set fire to in Puerto Maldonado.

    The protesters have been angered by rising fuel and food prices which they blame on Garcia's free market policies.

    Pot banging

    About 6,000 people marched on Lima, the capital, and held a pot banging session in a central plaza.

    Transport workers did not strike but demonstrators tried to block roads in many areas.

    The army was deployed to protect airports and water and power plants.

    The strike was organised by the General Confederation of Workers. The union called the strike "successful on the national level".

    Higher wages

    The government said the strike failed to meet the union's expectations, but Garcia acknowledged that there is "dissatisfaction in a large section of the Peruvian society".

    "I salute those who protested peacefully and those who worked taking their protest in their minds," he said.

    Mario Huaman, the secretary-general of the General Confederation of Workers, said that the "incessant rise of the cost of living" and the country's "neo-liberal economic policy that hurts the interests of the impoverished" meant that the government had to increase wages.

    Peru's economy has achieved impressive growth since Garcia became president in 2006, reaching 9 per cent in 2007.

    However, the Andes mountain and jungle regions of the country feel neglected by this growth which they feel has primarily benefitted Lima and coastal areas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.