Paraguayan government officials said that seven police officers and at least nine protesting farmers have been killed in a bloody clash Friday.
The farmers were occupying a property in eastern Paraguay, claiming the land was taken from them during the military rule of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner from 1954 to 1989. In total, 100 families entered onto the property in Canindeyu province three weeks ago, though it is not clear how many remained at the time of the confrontation with police.
Police officers moved in to evict the farmers early Friday morning and were ambushed in a wooden area by some of the farmers. In addition to those killed in the fighting, dozens more were wounded. It is not clear how many people have been arrested, but Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has ordered the military to step in and said in a press conference that [a]ll the forces are working towards reestablishing calm and security to the area.
The Paraguayan Congress is also considering declaring a state of emergency in the region.