THOUSANDS of Peruvians marched in at least 11 major cities on Thursday night to protest against a new law that strips young workers of many of their rights.
More than 5,000 marched in the the capital city Lima with some clashing with teargas-hurling police, pelting them with sticks and stones and setting fire to rubbish in street bins.
Sixteen police officers were injured, one seriously, and 20 people were arrested in Lima alone, said Interior Minister Daniel Urresti.
He made no mention of civilian casualties.
The demonstrators were protesting against the so-called Pulpin Law, which restricts working conditions for Peruvians aged between 18 and 24.
And under the controversial law, dismissed workers in that age group will get no severance pay.
The young workers will now be entitled to only half the holiday period given to older employees, facing a drop from 30 days per annum to just 15 days.
The law also states that such young workers will not be paid the twice-yearly bonuses of one month’s wages that other workers receive.
Thursday’s marches were the fourth protest staged against the law since Peru’s Congress passed it in early December with minimal debate.
Lima is becoming a highly unfriendly environment for working people.
In addition to the national measures against young workers, new Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda arbitrarily fired around 2,700 service workers 10 days ago.
The Municipal Workers Union is confronting the municipality, but the right-wing administration claims the firings were legal.