ASUNCION – Dozens of Paraguayan truckers drove their big rigs into downtown Asuncion on Thursday as part of their strike protesting the government’s decision to allow Brazilian double-trailer trucks to ply the country’s highways.
The trucks, most of them without their trailers and with their cabs occupied by relatives of the truckers, who have been protesting since Monday, drove through the center of the capital covered with signs against the government move.
Other trucks displayed Paraguayan flags and signs demanding the resignation of Public Works and Communications Minister Ramon Jimenez Gaona, whom the truckers accuse of discriminating against the sector to benefit the Brazilian truckers.
The Paraguayan caravan departed from the city of Mariano Roque Alonso, where they had been parked since beginning their strike, driving the 14 kilometers (9 miles) to Asuncion in about two-and-a-half hours.
After driving through the center of the city, and under the supervision of the National Police and Municipal Police, the truckers returned to their starting point without incident, other than causing significant traffic snarls in the capital.
The move came a day after the breakdown of dialogue with the government over the controversial resolution, signed in January, which allows Brazilian double-trailer trucks to transport soybeans to the Paraguayan river port of Concepcion.
The Paraguayan trucks are not configured for double-trailer work and thus the truckers contend that the resolution gives the Brazilians an unfair competitive advantage.