• Short Summary

    Seven people are believed to have died in clashes with the army and police in Peru during a one-day general strike on tuesday (19 July).

  • Description

    Seven people are believed to have died in clashes with the army and police in Peru during a one-day general strike on tuesday (19 July). The strike was called by left wing labour unions to protest against austerity measures imposed by the military government last month.

    The austerity programme was introduced in a effort to satisfy the requirements of the International Monetary Fund. The government is negotiating for financial assistance from the I.M.F. in its balance of payments crisis. It wants up to 100-million U.S. dollars. According to the British daily newspaper the Financial Times, the strike puts the military government into an even more serious dilemma. Since the country has almost no foreign exchange left, and the government is operating with a vast deficit, much stronger austerity measures may be essential to avoid financial collapse.

    SYNOPSIS: There were several clashes in the poorer districts of Lima, the Peruvian capital, which was paralysed by the strike. It was the biggest and most widespread confrontation between the government and the civilian population since the military came to power in 1968.

    Troops and police were out in force to prevent rioting. According to the government, four youths were killed in Lima when they attacked a bus. Eyewitnesses said the bus was carrying marines, who opened fire or their attackers. There were several arrests during the strike, and a number of labour leaders were detained. shops were closed and shuttered and public transport virtually ground to a halt.

    Well slogans in at least one area of the city accused the government of being `military fascists'. The strike was called to protest against the steep price rises which resulted from the governments austerity measures last month. It's the first general strike since the military seized power nine years ago and was held in defiance of a year-old ban on industrial stoppages. The strike following a month of serious street clashes between civilians and security forces in several major provincial cities, with then people reported killed.

    Queues in the streets are one result of the austerity programme. The measures include price increases of 100 per cent, 50 per cent on diesel oil and petrol prices, wage control, a cut of eight per cent in government spending and import cuts.

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