Paraguay Congress Blocks Emergency Measures After Rebel Attack

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Paraguay’s House of Representatives indefinitely postponed the declaration of a state of emergency in the north of the country, which was proposed following a deadly attack by the EPP guerrilla group.

On Monday, Paraguay’s Senate approved a law that would declare a 60-day state of emergency in the northern provinces of San Pedro and Concepcion. This followed an assault the previous week on a police station in Concepcion by members of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), killing two police officers.

The declaration would authorize Paraguay’s military to support police operations in the area, while suspending the constitutional right to assemble, and allowing security forces to detain suspects without an arrest warrant.

The House, however, voted to postpone a vote on the bill. Lawmakers opposing the measure questioned the effectiveness of such a drastic move, and emphasized that a state of emergency declared in April 2010 failed to produce solid results against the EPP. One opposition politician argued that, in the absence of political will to capture the guerrillas, a state of emergency would not achieve anything.

A representative from Concepion argued that, under the previous state of emergency, the rights of the poor had been trampled on. Other lawmakers said that there was not sufficient tumult in the area in question to justify the declaration.

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