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Peru: Flights to Iquitos canceled, roads blocked due to jungle strike

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(LIP-jl) — By blocking major roadways and manifesting in large crowds, protesters from the jungle department of Loreto began a 72 hour strike that, among other things, calls for increased funding from the federal government to hire more teachers.

As a result of the strike, which has completely shutdown the region, all flights from Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport to Iquitos have been canceled through Wednesday.

Peru’s RPP Radio reports that traffic in the city of Iquitos is at a stand still. Additionally, several public phones have been destroyed by protesters.

Elsewhere, protesters from Alto Amazonas Province blocked the Yurimaguas-Tarapoto Highway (near the 1-kilometer marker) with stones, tree branches, and burning tires.

Residents and political figures from the jungle region are demanding the elimination of a general sales tax on airfare and increased funding for the Loreto education sector.

Areas in Madre de Dios, Ucayali, and Puerto Maldonado have also joined in on the protests. According to the Peruvian daily Peru 21, public transportation in the city of Pucallpa has shutdown for the day.

Peruvian Prime Minister Jorge Del Castillo accused Loreto Regional President Yvan Vasquez of playing politics. Vasquez is demanding a face-to-face meeting with the prime minister to begin talks that look to find a solution to Loreto’s demands.

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Peru: Jungle region declares 72 hour strike (by LIP, 31 May, 2007)
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