The public force will begin this Thursday to clear the routes blocked by protesters in various parts of the country, to guarantee the constitutional right of free movement, said the commander of the Paraguayan National Police, Gilberto Arístides Fleitas Colmán.

In a press release published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior, the police chief assured that “operational work will be accentuated” to enable those places with the highest concentration of vehicles.

Truck drivers, taxi drivers, delivery men and platform service drivers, among others, lead the fourth day of protests with intermittent road closures in several cities to demand lower fuel prices.

The Minister of the Interior of Paraguay, Federico González, told 970 AM radio that he understands the position and the right of the people to demonstrate, but so does the right of third parties to circulate freely.

The protests and blockades of streets and routes, which began this Monday, are causing problems in various sectors, such as public transport. The National Directorate of Transport (Dinatran) communicated this Wednesday to users of the short, medium and long distance public service, that several unions temporarily suspended services due to road closures in various areas of the country.

From the dairy and poultry sector they warn of possible shortages, if the protesters do not allow the free movement of their trucks.

To try to meet the demands of workers behind the wheel, the Executive Branch signed a bill that should be discussed this Thursday by Congress, and which consists of the creation of a Fuel Price Stabilization Fund in Paraguay that, as announced by the authorities, it will cover 75% of the fuel market. The Ministry of Finance maintained that the fund will remain as a structure to mitigate future variations in the international price. If approved, the government announced that a total reduction of 1,500 guaranies (US$0.22) per liter of fuel will be achieved.

In an attempt to unblock the conflict, already this Wednesday the Government had announced a reduction of 500 guaraníes (US $ 0.07) per liter in 2 types of fuel: type 3 diesel and 93 octane gasoline. This cancellation will be in force for 30 days in the entire network of stations dependent on the state-owned Petroleros del Paraguay (Petropar). Until this Wednesday, common type 3 diesel was priced at 7,050 guaraníes per liter (US$1), and 93-octane naphtha reached 7,710 guaraníes (US$1.10) per liter.

The initiative did not convince the protesters, who ask that it be lowered to twice the amount initially proposed, that is, they want to achieve a reduction of 1,000 guaraníes (US$0.14) per liter.

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