Angry protesters storm Paraguay's Congress, start a fire after a vote amongst lawmakers to allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION. Protesters stormed Paraguay's Congress building and set it on fire on Friday (March 31) amid violent demonstrations over a secret Senate vote earlier in the day to approve a bill that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election. The Senate voted earlier on Friday during a special session in a closed office in Congress rather than on the Senate floor. Twenty-five lawmakers voted for the measure, two more than the 23 required for passage in the 45-member upper chamber. Opponents of the measure, who claim it would weaken Paraguay's democratic institutions, said the vote was illegal. The country's constitution has prohibited re-election since it was passed in 1992 after a brutal dictatorship fell in 1989. Dramatic images showed protesters breaking the glass windows of the South American country's Congress after several hours of escalating violence and confrontations with police. Demonstrators burned tires and removed parts of the fences surrounding the Congress building, and police in riot gear responded by lobbing tear gas and firing rubber bullets. Several politicians and journalists were injured, local media reported, and Interior Minister Tadeo Rojas said many police were hurt. The number of casualties was unknown.