Paraguay's National Police Monday took action to clear the roads which were being blocked by striking lorries in Guairá and Alto Paraná, it was reported.
The measure was taken the week after calls had piled up seeking the resignation of Interior Minister Arnaldo Giuzzio for his inability to handle the situation and leaving Paraguayans hostage to the decisions of trucking unionists.
Commissioner María Elena Andrada, head of Public Relations of the National Police, announced on Monday afternoon that the road blockades had been lifted in the departments of Guairá and Alto Paraná. Protesters demand an extraordinary Senate session to discuss a bill on freight.
The National Police had to clear the blockades in the city of Villarrica, where seven people were arrested in addition to 17 other lorry drivers taken into custody some kilometers from the city of Minga Guazú. Another group was staging a separate blockade at kilometer 10 off Ciudad del Este.
Andrada also explained the detained were remanded to the prosecution for further proceedings.
The direct, clear and concise order is the immediate clearance of the country's roads, Andrada stressed. She added that, if necessary, force will be used.
Andrada also pointed out that the law enforcement officers were to identify “ringleaders, rioters behind the pickets, while truckers willing to carry out their jobs would be guaranteed a safe passage.
There is the order of zero compromise, the reasonable time has passed to appeal to conscience, to ask these leaders to avoid this type of actions that all they do is (...) hinder free trade, (and) causing an enormous damage to merchants, to us citizens,” she added.
Andrada also specified that if the driver was not found, their trucks would be towed away in order to restore traffic. Negotiating with a blocking truck driver shopuld not exceed two or three minutes, the law enforcement spokeswoman pointed out. After that, “the police will have to unfortunately use force since obviously that is the only resource that will be able to take effect in the face of the refusal of these people.”
Meanwhile, Alto Paraná's Deputy district attorney Humberto Javier Rosetti has summoned special prosecuting team to address the situation in Ciudad del Este and Minga Guazú.