Paraguayan President calls on all ministers to resign after protests | News on the coronavirus pandemic


Mario Abdo Benitez is expected to announce changes to his cabinet after citizens protested the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez has called on all cabinet ministers to resign following clashes between protesters and police during protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The country’s communications minister, Juan Manuel Brunetti, said on Saturday that the president had asked “all members of the cabinet to step down.”

“The president… will surely speak today with the citizens. He [will] announce the changes, but we want all citizens to know and understand that their message has reached the president, ”he said.

Abdo Benitez respects peaceful protests and calls for peace, Brunetti added.

Paraguayans protest President Mario Abdo Benitez’s health policies and lack of COVID-19 vaccines in Asuncion [Cesar Olmedo/Reuters]

Clashes erupted Friday evening between protesters and police in the center of the capital, Asuncion. The rioters threw stones at the police, who in turn used rubber bullets and tear gas.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Saturday expressed concern at reports that police used excessive force against people during protests, while calling on authorities to investigate complaints of human rights violations. human rights.

The protests took place amid growing outrage over a growing COVID-19 pandemic in Paraguay, where infections have reached record levels and hospitals have been pushed to the brink of collapse.

Protesters gathered in front of the Congress building to demand the resignation of Abdo Benitez.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a resolution calling on Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni to step down from the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Mazzoleni has been attacked by lawmakers, including some from the ruling party, and by unions of healthcare workers. On Friday, Mazzoleni announced after a meeting with the president that he had tendered his resignation.

Health workers at Clinicas Hospital stand with fake coffin reading ‘Corruption kills’ as they protest the collapse of the health care system in San Lorenzo, Paraguay [Cesar Olmedo/Reuters]

Daniel Schweimler of Al Jazeera, Buenos Aires, Argentina, said the president was under pressure from citizens and the political opposition to step down.

“He’s really under pressure, really to respond to criticism from his people. [There are] protests… in the capital Asuncion almost every night now, ”Schweimler said.

Meanwhile, the country’s healthcare system is struggling as the government recently said there was a shortage of important drugs to treat patients with COVID-19 and that nearly all intensive care unit beds public hospitals were full.

“We are in a critical situation”, recently said the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Hernan Martinez.

“Let’s avoid the crowds. It is the only thing that can save us from the collapse of health care. “

Paraguay has reported more than 165,800 cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 3,200 people have died from the coronavirus.





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