Paraguayan peasants protest against Moon

Europe Intelligence Wire/July 21, 2005

Some 400 peasants protested outside Congress Wednesday, demanding the expropriation of 52,000 hectares (128,395 acres) of land owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church in northern Paraguay.

Residents of Puerto Casado, located 670 kilometers (416 miles) north of Asuncion, camped out Tuesday night in the Paraguayan capital after a six-day march.

Senate President Carlos Filizzola told the protesters that the upper house of Congress was awaiting a report from the rural land agency before taking action on a possible expropriation of the properties for use in agrarian-reform projects.

The peasants said they would remain in Asuncion until a decision was made by legislators.

Expropriation of the 52,000 hectares (128,395 acres) for communal use was proposed by two senators after another initiative to expropriate a larger tract failed in Congress.

Victoria S.A., a company owned by the Unification Church, said it would leave Paraguay, where it owns more than 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres) in the north, near other holdings in Brazil, if its land was expropriated.

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