Protesters storm Suriname parliament over high fuel prices

PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators stormed Suriname’s parliament, broke windows and looted nearby businesses Friday to protest high fuel and electricity prices in the South American nation.

Protesters in the capital, Paramaribo, overwhelmed police who had fired tear gas to try to control the crowd. It wasn’t immediately clear if there were injuries in the melee.

The protesters demanded the resignation President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, who recently ended the state subsidies for fuel and electricity on the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund. Demonstrators also were upset about inflation in the prices of other basic goods and the weakening of the Suriname dollar.

Authorities condemned the attack and said those responsible would be brought to justice.

“The government respects everybody’s right to protest but will not tolerate actions like the ones demonstrated today,” Santokhi’s administration said in a brief statement.

At least two labor unions called for strikes that prompted banks, ports and schools to shut down.

The protest in the capital ended by early Friday afternoon, with calm returning to the streets.

The change in subsidies policy also has led to turmoil within the government. On Wednesday, members of the Suriname National Party withdrew from the ruling coalition of Santokhi, who is from the Progressive Reform Party.

Protesters on Friday also were demanding the resignation of Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk, of the General Liberation and Development Party.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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