Peru repeals farm law after days of road blockades - GulfToday

Peru repeals farm law after days of road blockades


Peasants demonstrate at the Pan-American highway in demand of labour reforms in Ica, Peru. File/AFP

Gulf Today Report

Peru’s Congress on Friday repealed a farming law that had triggered days of roadblocks and other protests by striking workers as the protesters erupted with joy and immediately began lifting the blockades that had choked many stretches of the north-south Pan-American Highway.

Earlier, workers from the Doe Run mine complex in Peru joined a growing group of farmworkers in blocking major highways throughout the Andean nation, ratcheting up pressure on newly appointed interim President Francisco Sagasti.

People travelling on a bus beg peasants to let them go through after five days of being stuck on the Pan-American highway. AFP

Hundreds of union members from the Doe Run metallurgical plant located in the Andean town of La Oroya blockaded a highway critical to the supply of food to the capital Lima, demanding the government turn over management of the mining complex.

“We did it!” protesters chanted at one blockade site in Ica, around 155 miles (250 kilometres) south of Lima. There, an estimated 2,000 trucks and buses had been stuck for days.

Several governments have pledged, but failed, to revamp the liquidated mine after it was mothballed in 2009 amid spiraling debts that prevented its former owners from completing a modernization program and environmental cleanup.

The strikers were demanding wage increases and the repeal of a decades-old law, recently extended until 2031, that sought to boost farm exports and gave exporters tax breaks. The strikers also said it set their wages unfairly low.

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