Women Crucified, Carried Through Streets in Paraguay Housing Protest

Two women let themselves be crucified on wooden crosses and carried around Paraguay's capital on Friday as part of citywide protests demanding President Fernando Lugo grant funds for low-income housing.

Members of various homeless organizations nailed the women's hands and bound their feet to crosses in a plaza to pressure the Social Action Secretariat to give them $1 million to purchase land and build homes.

The women were identified as Laura Raquel Ramirez, 37, and Naida Villaverde, 41. One of them fainted from the heat and pain, said Blas Vera, one of the movement's leaders.

Click here for photos of Paraguay's housing protests.

Several men heaved the crosses on their shoulders and bore the women through Asuncion, joining dozens of other protesters.

Nearly 90 percent of Paraguay's 6 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

Social Action head Pablino Caceres said the funds will be made available, but the agency will control them.

"The resources are there, but we will administer them," Caceres said. "We are changing the assistance model. In previous governments the leaders of the homeless groups controlled the money, but not now."

Leftist ex-bishop Fernando Lugo assumed the presidency in August, ending 61 years of single-party rule. He promises to end the extreme poverty in Paraguay, but some of his supporters say he is not acting fast enough.