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This Thursday hundreds of rural workers blocked the Pan-American Highway in northern Peru demanding justice for three civilians killed during clashes with the police. At the same time, the government, led by Francisco Sagasti, promised to punish the troops who used firearms against protesters. In addition, they were looking for a solution to the crisis.

The Pan-American highway was blocked in the La Libertad region by pickets of indignant rural workers who prevented the passage of trucks and buses with stones and burning tires, according to images from local television stations, AFP reported.

We deplore and reject what happened in La Libertad. We condemn those who incite violence. We will sanction the police officers who disrespected the ban on the use of firearms, ” Sagasti said on Twitter in an attempt to calm the waters. The police crackdown on the protest left three civilians dead, one minor among them, authorities reported Wednesday night.

One of them was a person with oncological problems who was transferred to be treated urgently at a hospital and who died on the road as a result of the roadblocks. In the clashes 15 policemen and 28 workers were injured. In addition, 45 workers were arrested. The crashes occurred on a section of the Pan-American Highway, 500 kilometers north of Lima.

The Peruvian president proposed this Thursday a national dialogue to get out of the spiral of protests and repression that the country has plunged into due to the parliamentary debate on an agricultural law. Sagasti also tacitly admitted the failure of the new agrarian bill approved by Congress on Tuesday. 

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“Congress approved the agrarian promotion law that does not satisfy any of the parties involved. I will convene the National Agreement forum to debate the future of the agricultural sector and other measures, “added the president. The agrarian crisis has exploded in the face of Sagasti, who took office on November 17 during a political crisis in which the country had three presidents in just 10 days.

The Minister of the Interior , José Elice , said for his part that he will meet with the high command of the police to clarify the events that have been occurring in the agrarian protests. “There is a colleague of ours, on the part of the police, who unfortunately used a firearm that he should not have used, it is forbidden in a demonstration of this type. It must be investigated. It’s very alarming, ”Elice said.

Rural protests, revolving around the labor regime and wages, have marked the Peruvian political scene in December. Since the protests broke out, there have been five deaths in them.

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