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Paraguay: soy spraying sparks controversy

January 24, 2014 GMT

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — A man in Paraguay lost an eye after police shot a rubber bullet during a protest by farmers trying to stop the spraying of soy crops with herbicides.

Six more people also were reportedly injured in clashes with police that have reignited a controversy about whether the herbicides contaminate the people living near the fields.

A judge had ordered police protection for the soy fields controlled by a Brazilian landowner some 280 kilometers (174 miles) north of the capital, Asuncion. The clashes broke out Wednesday when a group of farmers tried to block a tractor from spraying the fields.

The National Peasants Federation on Friday protested what they called “police repression and the government’s lack of support for small-scale farmers.

Paraguay is the world’s third-largest soy producer.