Peru's military government declared a state of emergency throughout the country on Saturday (20 May) in the wake of widespread riots and protests against recent increases in food prices.
GV & CU: Army personnel carrier on street in Lima.
GV: Riot police standing by bus.
SV PAN: Queues of people lining up outside supermarket. (4 SHOTS)
SV EXTERIOR & GV INTERIOR: Almost deserted bank.
GV: Political posters and signs on prominent building. (3 SHOTS)
SCU: Hugo Blanco, leftist politician speaking on television.
GV & CU: Newspaper headline and posters. (5 SHOTS)
In a nationwide broadcast, President Morales promised that his military regime would hand over to an elected government. Speaking only hours after the state of emergency, he hinted that general and Presidential elections could take place before their scheduled date in 1980. But he warned that if negotiations with international financial bodies failed, further economic measures would have to be taken. He did not go into details.
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Background: Peru's military government declared a state of emergency throughout the country on Saturday (20 May) in the wake of widespread riots and protests against recent increases in food prices. Reuters news agency describes the economic and political situation in Peru as the gravest crisis which has faced President Francisco Morales since e came to power three years ago.
SYNOPSIS: Soldiers are guarding the streets of Lima and other cities following food price riots which twelve people died. President Morales said the riots were sparked off by new austerity measures aimed at restoring Peru's economy.
The government's austerity package included 50 percent increases in the price of many foods. It was part of the government's attempts to win approval for international loans. Strong measures have been demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the Major banks. The rise in food prices was accompanied by sharp increases in taxes and in the price of petrol. Most of the rises were the result of ending heavy subsidies which had kept food and other items artificially low.
Banks and other financial institutions throughout Peru are almost deserted, and economic life has all but come to a standstill. As political strife grows in intensity, there are increasing reports of arrests of left-wing politicians and journalists.
Hugo Blanco, a prominent leftist leader, was arrested at the height of the riots shortly after being allowed to returns form exile. The editor of the right-wing newspaper "El Ti empo" has been arrested, along with scores of labour leaders. many others are in hiding. The General confederation of Labour has called a 48-hour strike to protest against the sharp rise in food prices. Other strikes in Peru's major regional cities have already taken place. The government has declared the strikes illegal, and has threatened to postpone impending elections.