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Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

Farmers, police clash over cotton prices

February 8, 2007

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— Angry farmers protesting government-set prices for cotton clashed with police Wednesday in a rural Paraguayan town, leaving 27 farmers and 11 police injured, authorities said.

Government spokeswoman Lilian Ruiz, said one police officer was hospitalized after being clubbed on the head, but none of the other injuries on either side was serious.

The clash occurred near the rural town of Curce Tacuar, some 150 miles north of the capital of Asuncion, during a day of protests nationwide against government-mandated prices for their latest cotton crop.

Odilon Espinola, head of the major National Campesino Federation, said some 20,000 peasant farmers in this poor, agrarian nation had staged a day of protests in towns and communities all around cotton-growing areas.

He charged that government-set prices of about 25 cents for every 2.2 pounds of cotton was "laughable." The farmers, he said, are demanding that the prices set by government decree be raised by President Nicanor Duarte's government to at least 40 cents.

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