In the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo on Thursday (June 28), streets were almost deserted except for a few military vehicles and the occasional pedestrian.
In the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo on Thursday (June 28), streets were almost deserted except for a few military vehicles and the occasional pedestrian. Few of the army vehicles were actually moving. They had been instructed to remain as stationary as possible to conserve fuel -- for the country's only oil refinery had been taken over by striking workers.
Workers had also occupied vital factories and installations and only a few taxis ignored the strike-call. Students also took over universities.
The call was issued by the powerful left-wing National Workers Convention (CNT) following President Juan Maria Bordaberry's military-backed coup which closed parliament and restricted individual rights on Wednesday (June 27th).
In a series of decrees issued shortly after the coup, 44-year-old President Bordaberry imposed stern press censorship, closed down schools and colleges until July 20th and banned political meetings. Uruguayan newspapers decided not to publish.
The coup followed a refusal by parliament to withdraw parliamentary immunity from Senator Erro Enrique, suspected by the military of connections with the leftwing Tupamaros guerrillas.
On Thursday and Friday (28 and 29 June) President Bordaberry and his military advisers considered ways to combat the general strike, including drafting public officials into the army so as to be able to court-martial them for failing to report for duty.
Latest reports (30th June) say that the army has now evicted striking workers from the refinery and occupied factories.