A nationwide strike against the privatization plans of President Horacio Cartes has paralyzed much of Paraguay's economy and society.

Union leader Aldo Snead says Wednesday's strike stopped bus and taxi service and closed schools and most businesses. It also left hospitals largely unstaffed across the South American country.

The unions want Cartes to roll back a law enabling private companies to invest in government infrastructure in exchange for owning concessions and charging fees.

Cartes acknowledged that Paraguay's workers have legitimate historic complaints, but has showed no signs of backing down.

As crowds of strikers marched past closed storefronts, the president was huddling with his armed forces leaders.