Farm Workers Block Key Highway in Peru
Thousands of farm workers continued to stage roadblocks along a key highway in Peru on Wednesday to demand better working conditions.
Last week Peru’s Congress sidelined a bill that sought to improve conditions for rural workers, because there were not enough votes in favor of the proposal.
In response, farm workers in the north and south of Peru have blocked several segments of the Panamerican Highway since Sunday, a road that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean and crosses the entire length of the country, connecting Peru with Ecuador and Chile.
The protesters work for large plantations along the highway that include avocado and lemon farms.
They are demanding higher wages and regulations to make it harder for agro-industrial companies to lay workers off and hire workers through temporary agencies.
The companies have lobbied against these changes, leading to a deadlock in Congress.
On Sunday protesters started to block the Panamerican highway with large rocks, and clashed with police who have attempted to disperse them with teargas.
The roadblocks have affected people traveling for the Christmas holiday and have also made it more difficult for health workers to transport medical supplies as the nation struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.