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Hundreds of protesters from all over the country seeking a solution to their housing and land ownership issues camp out in the main square of Asuncion, Paraguay, Apr. 10, 2018. EPA-EFE/Andres Cristaldo
Hundreds of protesters from all over the country seeking a solution to their housing and land ownership issues camp out in the main square of Asuncion, Paraguay, Apr. 10, 2018. EPA-EFE/Andres Cristaldo

Paraguay's housing problem

Hundreds of people are protesting at Paraguay's capital over housing and land ownership issues.

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The capital's main square, in front of the Paraguayan Congress, has become a campsite for hundreds of protesters from all over the country seeking a solution to their housing and land ownership issues.

The occupation - which began at the end of 2017 when a dozen Indian families of the Jetyty Miri community were driven from their land by Brazilian soy barons - was later augmented by hundreds of families from the poor capital neighborhood of Chacarita, who were forced from their homes due to January's Paraguay River floods.

On the other side of the square are about 1,000 homeless members of the Patria Nueva (New Homeland) movement, who relocated to the Plaza de Armas - where the Asuncion Cathedral and the colonial-era city hall are also located - from a military base they were previously occupying, demanding that the state grant them their own land.

"We all belong to the same class, and we're looking for (our own) land," Cesar Fleitas, one of Patria Nueva's leaders told EFE, adding that all three groups have demands in common for housing, land and a better quality of life.

The campsite is powered by the city's electric grid and the water is provided by Chacarita residents, while the groups pitch in for food and security.

"We are trying to practice the values that our movement proclaims," said Fleitas - whose organization has reached out to the other groups - citing solidarity, kindness, respect, and sharing as some of his faction's ideals.

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