. Energy News .

Anger spreads over Bolivia crackdown on protesters
by Staff Writers
La Paz (AFP) Sept 26, 2011

Protests spread in Bolivia on Monday over a violent crackdown on Indian marchers demonstrating against a highway planned to be built through an Amazon rainforest preserve.

A cabinet minister resigned in protest, students marched in major cities, and the Organization of American States (OAS) weighed sending a monitoring team to look into Sunday's clashes in a major crisis for the leftist government of President Evo Morales.

Riot police had fired tear gas to disperse a march on La Paz by Amazon Indians opposed to government plans for the highway. Police rounded up hundreds of marchers and forced them onto buses in an operation that left several people injured.

Police surged into the demonstrators' camp with "extreme violence," veteran rights activist Maria Carvajal told AFP. "I could not believe what was happening."

Protesters reacted Monday by setting barricades ablaze on the airport runway in the town of Rurrenabaque in an attempt to free some 300 marchers, Mayor Yerko Nunez told local media.

Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon announced she was resigning in protest over the crackdown.

"I do not agree with the intervention in the march and I cannot justify the measure when other alternatives existed," she said in a letter to Morales.

The planned road would run through a nature preserve home to some 50,000 natives from three Amazon Indian groups.

After more than a month of hiking, the protesters arrived just outside the town of Yucumo on Saturday after breaking through a police barricade by forcing the government mediator, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, to march with them.

Morales, the country's first elected indigenous president, says the 300-kilometer (186 mile) highway is vital for economic development.

The road is part of a network linking land-locked Bolivia, South America's only mostly indigenous nation, to both the Pacific through Chile and the Atlantic through Brazil, and a key outlet for Bolivian exports.

The government says that it would be too costly to build the highway around the nature preserve.

Amazon natives also fear landless Andean Quechua and Aymara people -- Bolivia's main indigenous groups and Morals supporters -- will flood into the road area and colonize the region.

"The most important thing for us is that they stop the violence as soon as possible," said the UN's envoy in Bolivia, Yoriko Yasukawa, reminding authorities it was their responsibility to "protect the people."

Speaking at the Quemado government palace in La Paz, Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti denied reports that an infant traveling with the protesters had killed, or that people who fled the tear gas barrage are missing.

Llorenti insisted the police action was legal, but added that any excessive force from police will be sanctioned.

Riot police set up a security cordon around the Quemado building as thousands of demonstrators outside, mainly college students, protested the crackdown. Violence, however, was limited to a few tomatoes hurled at policemen.

Other protests were held in the central city of Cochabamba -- where students marched and majority Aymara and Quechua Indians began a hunger strike -- as well as the northern province of Beni, a bastion of anti-Morales sentiment. Sixteen Amazon Indians also began a hunger strike in Santa Cruz.

At OAS headquarters in Washington, two senior officials insisted there was no need for human rights monitors to travel to Bolivia.

A cabinet minister and Hector Arce, the speaker of Bolivia's chamber of deputies, met with OAS rights officials and Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to discuss the weekend events.

In an attempt to defuse tensions, Morales said Sunday he would hold a referendum on whether to build the road. No date was set for the vote, and Morales made no further public appearances.

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology


Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

If insurance companies pay out too often farmers will be threatened with ruin
Leipzig, Germany (SPX) Sep 21, 2011
Insurance can help farmers to survive dry periods. However, it can also result in the long term in overgrazing and therefore threaten their existence if insurance companies pay out in periods of moderate drought and farmers change their management strategies as a result. This is the conclusion of the world's first study on the ecological effects of rain-index insurance. As the internationa ... read more

Russia may launch its first Earth remote sensing satellite in 2012

Astrotech Subsidiary Wins Contract for NASA Mission

Japanese meteorological firm to launch satellite to track Arctic sea ice

ERS satellite missions complete after 20 years

Anger as GPS drives tourists to Hollywood icon

Swedish daycare to test GPS for tracking kids

Honeywell Unveils New Version of ViewPoint

Russia set to launch Glonass-M satellite on Oct. 1

Publication offers tree-planting tips

Bolivian minister resigns over Amazon crackdown

Fear not, US tells guitarists worried by illegal wood

Water evaporated from trees cools global climate

Motor fuel from wood and water?

Researchers sequence dark matter of life

USDA Scientists Use Commercial Enzyme to Improve Grain Ethanol Production

Research offers means to detoxify mycotoxin-contaminated grain intended for ethanol, animal feed

Cheap and efficient solar cell made possible by linked nanoparticles

Lessons to be Learned from Nature in Photosynthesis

Copper Film Could Lower Touch Screen, LED and Solar Cell Costs

Nature offers key lessons on harvesting solar power

New energy in search for future wind

Investment blows into India's wind sector

Spain's Gamesa signs deal with Chinese firm

MPs: Britain needs North Sea 'supergrid'

India acquires Australian coal assets

China, India buy up Australian coal field

Mongolia rejects major coal mine deal

India's coal projects face obstacles

US urges China to respect Tibetans' rights

China mulls reforms to tighten grip on media, web

Successor chosen by Dalai Lama 'illegal': China

China tax department's yacht sparks outcry

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement