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Peru Economic Policies Protested

July 27, 1999

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Hundreds of construction workers and pensioners marched to the presidential palace Monday in Lima to protest the government’s economic policies and a possible re-election bid by President Alberto Fujimori.

About 1,000 demonstrators squared off with rows of police in riot gear guarding the palace, but there was no fighting.

Protest leaders charged that the government’s tough economic measures have worsened high unemployment and poverty. Dozens of protesters had come from impoverished parts of Peru’s countryside to demand more government attention to their regions.

``The government has abandoned us. There’s so much poverty in Ucayali, so much unemployment, and so much corruption among officials,″ said Sara Rios, a 42-year-old mother of six from Ucayali in Peru’s Amazon jungle.

Although Fujimori has not said if he will run for a third consecutive term in office in next April’s elections, his opponents charge he is trampling democratic institutions and the constitution to pave way for a bid.

The protesters said they will hold a vigil in the plaza in front of the palace until Wednesday, Peru’s Independence Day.

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