Unrest in Peru: 8,000 Indios storm government building, set fire
An estimated 8,000 Indios stormed a government building and set it on fire amidst angry labour and leftwing demonstrations against the economic policies of the national government, but officials on Thursday downplayed the violence, dpa reported.
The worst unrest was in southern Peru, in Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the forest province of Madre de Dios, where protestors unleashed their anger over the absence of the governor, who had promised he would be in town.
They attacked the headquarters of the regional government and injured four police officers with arrows shot from bows.
In the Andean province Huancavelica, the country's poorest region, a social center was destroyed.
But top officials in the government of President Alan Garcia downplayed the violence, saying the nationwide strikes were for the most part peaceful.
In northern Peru, a 19-year-old pregnant old woman died during delivery in an ambulance on the way to hospital because strikers held up the vehicle from moving.
All told, 21 police officers were injured and 216 demonstrators were arrested.
Garcia charged the strikes were part of a "conspiracy against democracy by the parties who lost the elections."
The strike was called by the "coordination group for social policy" that includes nationalist parties as well as the socialist and communist parties, and the party of the Red Fatherland.
An estimated 40 per cent of Peruvians live below the poverty line and charge that the country's strong economic growth has passed them by.