Paraguay appeared headed for a constitutional crisis on Friday after a group of senators voted behind closed doors for a bill that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election, while protesters confronted police outside Congress.
The Senate vote took place during a special session held in a closed office in Congress rather than on the Senate floor. Twenty five voted for the measure, two more than the 23 required for passage in the 45-member chamber.
Opponents, who claim the measure would weaken democratic institutions, said the vote was illegal. Protesters who marched in front of the Congress building in capital city of Asuncion were met by water hoses and rubber bullets fired by police.
"A coup has been carried out. We will resist and we invite the people to resist with us," said Senator Desiree Masi from the opposition Progressive Democratic Party.