Police blocked guests on their way to a pro-democracy reception honoring the U.S. ambassador and peered over a wall to locate him before lobbing tear gas into the midst of the garden festivities, the U.S. Embassy said today.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Monday night's tear-gas attack on Ambassador Clyde Taylor was inexplicable.
Witnesses said diplomats from Argentina, France and West Germany also were among the approximately 35 tear-gassed guests but only Argentina today confirmed the attack at the reception, which was sponsored by Women for Democracy at a private home.
Witnesses said police prevented 300 guests from attending.
"We find it inexplicable that police have thrown tear-gas grenades at a social gathering where police permitted the entry of diplomats," an embassy statement said.
Asked whether there would be a protest, the spokesman said, "I can't say whether there will be a protest."
The embassy spokesman said Taylor, who was escorted from the reception by two carloads of U.S. security personnel, informed Paraguayan Foreign Minister Carlos Augusto Saldivar of the incident.
Paraguayan government officials had no immediate comment.
Critic of Censorship
Paraguay has been under the one-man military rule of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner since 1954. Taylor, a frequent critic of press censorship and dictatorial government methods in Paraguay, has been repeatedly threatened with expulsion by high-ranking Paraguayan officials.
Miguel Angel Martinez, a member of the banned Radical Liberal Authentic Party who attended the reception, said Taylor described the incident as "a direct attack on my office."
Witnesses said about 300 people were stopped outside the home of Josevina Sosa Ugarte by police and dispersed by tear-gas grenades about 10 p.m. after they chanted anti-government slogans,
"The smell of tear gas was not very pleasant," said Virginia Gutierrez, first secretary of the Argentine Embassy, who attended the reception.