Clashes erupt between police, protesting miners in Bolivia
New clashes have erupted between Bolivian police and a group of miners staging a blockade to show their anger at the government’s changes to mining legislation.
The confrontation came after police attempted to break up the roadblock in the rural town of Panduro on Tuesday.
Security forces and protesters reportedly traded tear gas and dynamite amidst the scuffles.
Speaking to media, police commander Juan Torrelio said nearly two dozen officers were injured in the clashes. Reports say ten miners were also detained.
The protesters accuse President Evo Morales of heading a “neoliberal” economic agenda in the Latin American country.
The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia (FENCOMIN) has decided to embark on an indefinite campaign of protests after negotiations over mining legislation failed.
So far, 11 routes across Bolivia remain sealed off in protest to changes to Law 356, which prevents the miners from signing contracts with private sector companies. The minors argue that the amendments undermine their rights.
FENCOMIN has presented a list of 10 demands to the government, among them the amendment of the law aimed at strengthening workers’ rights.
The government has expressed its willingness to negotiate with miners provided that the protesters halt their violent actions like blocking roads.
Pressure has been building on the government of Morales to make improvements in working conditions.