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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 June, 2003, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
End to Peru emergency in sight
Teachers protest in Peru
Protests by teachers spread to other workers
The Peruvian government and the striking teachers' union have announced an agreement that could lead to the lifting of a national state of emergency.

The strike for higher pay has been going on for more than three weeks.

It has been widely supported by other public service workers, bringing the country almost to a standstill.

The agreement includes salary increases for the teachers and a promise from President Alejandro Toledo to double their pay within three years.

The breakthrough was welcomed by union leader Nilver Lopez, but he warned that the strike would continue at least until Saturday, when teachers vote on the deal.

While negotiations were going on Wednesday, thousands of school teachers marched in the streets of Lima, joined by judicial workers, doctors, nurses and farmers angry with President Toledo's free market policies and the state of emergency.

IMF pressure

Anti-riot police followed the protest - illegal under the state of emergency - but for the most part did not intervene.

The massive turnout on demonstrations has been seen as a measure of how President Toledos's popularity has slumped in the two years since he came to power.

President Toledo promised wage increases during his election campaign, but shelved the move under pressure from the International Monetary Fund.

In clashes between protesters and the army during the strike a student was shot dead and more than 200 arrested.

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28 May 03  |  Middle East

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