Bolivia: Miner Clashes Leave Two Dead, Gov’t Investigates


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Source: Prensa Latina

Bolivian Government Minister Alfredo Rada confirmed that the executive is investigating a clash between miners and police in the region of Huanuni, taking a toll of two deaths and 30 wounded.

According to Rada, the incident took place when the police was trying to unblock a main crossroads, whose access had been blocked since Monday by workers who demanded a new pension law.

Rada told reporters that the workers’ demands are being debated in the National Congress, adding that those and other measures of protests in the country are supported by the opposition in its effort to hinder the referendum to revoke major authorities next Sunday.

The top official explained that the police intervened in the conflict when they learned that the miners planned to blow up a bridge in the town of Caihuasi, in the central department of Oruro, some 143 miles south of La Paz.

Rada pointed out that the miners had powerful explosives to carry out the action, which the government prevented because it affected a road and it is an attack on the country’s economic and social life.

Rada refuted media stories on the use of firearms by the police, who only did their duty to preserve public order and reestablish traffic, he stressed.

In that regard, the minister said that hours before the clash, the Police chief, General Miguel Gemio, had assured President Evo Morales that the police officers taking part in the operation were unarmed.

The roadblocks of the road that connects La Paz with the departments of Oruro, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz were carried out in support for the Bolivian Workers’ Confederation (COB), which is demanding that the government approves a new pension law.

President Morales urged the COB on Tuesday not to play the right wing’s game, which is aimed at destabilizing the government.