Thousands of people took to the streets in Peru last week in a series of strikes and demonstrations against the free market policies of president Alan Garcia.
Up to 30,000 people joined a demonstration in the capital, Lima. Protesters have also held rallies in towns and cities across the country as well as blocking roads and occupying airports and railway lines.
Teachers and farmers’ unions were at the centre of the action. They were joined by other unions angry at the social and economic impact of the government’s neoliberal policies. Protesters criticised Garcia for betraying his left wing roots.
Garcia signed up to a new free trade agreement with the US at the end of last year. Workers say this agreement is threatening Peru’s industry, agriculture and food security.
Economic growth for this year is predicted to be about 9 percent, but the unions say they are not seeing any benefits from this. Meanwhile workers face the rising cost of living including soaring food prices.