Angry protesters seize Peru police

Nine police officers who were seized by angry protesters in southern Peru have been released after being held hostage for around six hours.

Angry protesters seize Peru police

Hernan Tamayo, the police chief in the town of Arequipa, said two of the officers were injured after being beaten up by the protesters.

About 1,000 protesters had blocked the highway, some 1,100km south of the capital Lima on Friday, to demand the government of Alan Garcia invest in the region, police said.

The protesters also expressed support for public teachers' strike that started this week.

Hostage swap

"The protesters surrounded a group of nine police that were lifting a road blockage on the Arequipa-Puno road, and took them hostage," a police officer said.

Local media reported that protest leaders wanted to swap the hostages for 14 demonstrators detained earlier.

Meanwhile, hundreds of public teachers took to the streets of Lima on Friday to demand the government withdraw an education reform plan, which they say will leave hundreds of teachers unemployed.

Farmers, builders and people from impoverished regions have staged sometimes violent protests this week to demand that the centre-left Garcia government invest more in social projects and improve working conditions.

Garcia took office for a second time a year ago, pledging to claw Peru away from a "social catastrophe" by creating jobs and ending growing inequality.

His first term in power ended in 1990 amid economic turmoil and widespread protests.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2007, 13:37