President Horacio Cartes fired Paraguay's interior minister and top police official on Saturday following the killing of Rodrigo Quintana of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party and violent overnight clashes sparked by a secret Senate vote for a constitutional amendment to allow presidential re-election.
Dozens of people, including a police officer, were arrested Friday evening in demonstrations that saw protesters breaking in Paraguay's legislature and setting it on fire. Police used water cannons and fired rubber bullets to drive the rioters away from the building while firefighters extinguished blazes inside.
Before his dismissal, police commander Crispulo Sotelo identified Gustavo Florentin as the police agent responsible for Quintana's death and had him arrested. Later Saturday, Cartes announced that he had accepted the resignations of Sotelo and Interior Minister M.T. Rojas.The protests broke out after senators approved an amendment allowing for presidential re-election, which opponents said was illegal because the vote was taken without all members of the senate present. Presidents are limited to a single 5-year term.
Because of the violence, Saturday's and Monday's sessions of the Chamber were cancelled. "We will evaluate the situation on Tuesday," said legislative president Hugo Velazquez.