Police in Peru have fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators marching against a controversial trade deal involving the United States.
Violence erupted in the capital Lima on Wednesday as the protesters were calling on the congress not to ratify the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which is set to be debated in a future meeting of the congress.
The demonstration hosted an assortment of opposition parties, including university student collectives, labor unions, health-based groups, leftist political parties, indigenous communities, cultural movements, feminists and environmentalists.
Critics of the international deal in Peru and other countries potentially involved in the deal argue that it will only benefit a small number of multinational companies and will damage local employment.
The TPP was agreed upon on October 5, 2015, after five years of negotiations. The pact seeks to establish common standards for the 12 countries involved. The United States heads the group of countries.
Other signatories to the pact are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
The ambitious deal, promising the elimination of nearly all tariffs among the 12 countries, is aimed at breaking down trade and investment barriers.
However, Peruvians argue that it is anti-democratic and favors multinational corporations at the expense of domestic interests.
They also say the TPP threatens healthcare by potentially increasing the prices of medicine, as well as threatening jobs, the environment and the rights of workers.

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