Latin America & Caribbean

Sacked Paraguay bus drivers stage crucifixion protest

Bus driver lies with his hands nailed to a wooden cross during a protest in in the outskirts of Asuncion, Paraguay, Aug. 16, 2013.
Image caption The drivers said they were sacked for asking for better pay and conditions

Eight Paraguayan bus drivers and a woman have submitted to crucifixion in a protest against being sacked.

The men have been nailed to crosses through their hands for 20 days, and have vowed to continue their protest until they are reinstated.

The woman, one of their wives, joined them on Wednesday.

They are lying on the floor against a wall in Luque, a town north of the capital, Asuncion. The health of some of them is said to be deteriorating.

The manager of the Vanguardia bus company, Aufredi Paredes, said five of the drivers would be re-hired.

But Mr Paredes said the other three would receive their legal separation payments and would be found jobs in other bus companies.

Union leader Juan Villalba, one of the drivers crucified, said they would not give up their protest until all are reinstated.

Mr Villalba alleged they had been sacked after asking for overtime pay, medical insurance and state pension contributions.

"The drivers are tired of being exploited," he said.

His wife, Maria Concepcion Candia, joined the protest on Wednesday out of solidarity.

Mr Villalba said about 50 drivers in the bus company serving the capital have worked for years without receiving any benefits.

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