Police use water cannon and rubber bullets to drive demonstrators away from building while firefighters tackle blazes
Protesters set fires in Paraguays congress after senators approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the election of a president to a second term, a move called illegal by opposition members and opposed by the senate president.
The vote on Friday was followed by clashes outside the congress building between police and protesters opposing the amendment. Some protesters broke through police lines and entered the first floor, where they set fire to papers and furniture. Police used water cannon and fired rubber bullets to drive demonstrators away from the building while firefighters extinguished blazes inside.
The measure was backed by 25 of the countrys 45 senators. The yes votes came from members of the governing Colorado party and from several opposition groups.
Opponents of the move included senate president, Roberto Acevedo, of the opposition Authentic Radical Liberal party. He argued the process used to bring the amendment to a vote violated senate rules and he filed an appeal to the supreme court seeking to have the vote overturned.
The proposal would allow the current president, Horacio Cartes, and Paraguays previous presidents to run for the top job again in the 2018 election. Presidents are currently limited to a single five-year term.
After approval in the senate, the proposal went to the chamber of deputies, where 44 of the 80 members belong to the Colorado party. Approval there would require the scheduling of a national referendum on the amendment.