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Strike in Bolivia ends with clashes between police and civilians

Demonstrations took place in the largest Bolivian region against the arrest of the governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho. In the midst of the clashes, several homes and vehicles were burned.

The clashes between protesters and police, some with firecrackers and others with tear gas, marked the final hours of the strike held this Friday (12.30.2022) in Santa Cruz , the largest Bolivian region, against the imprisonment of its governor, the opposition Luis Fernando Camacho .

The clashes began in the middle of the afternoon around Christ the Redeemer, an emblematic monument in the city of Santa Cruz, capital of the region of the same name, from where a small group of people went to the headquarters of the Police Departmental Command to protest against Camacho’s arrest.

The mobilized sought to advance by detonating firecrackers, to which the uniformed officers responded by firing tear gas.

As the hours progressed, more people joined the protest on all sides, with the intention of encircling and taking over the police command building, EFE confirmed.

Due to the firecrackers, fireworks and tear gas, fires broke out in some homes and at least three vehicles were burned.

A group of riot police based in the north of the city was preparing to go to reinforce their comrades in command, but the neighbors blocked their way and there were also clashes there.

The strike was called at the request of a “Cruceñidad Assembly”, which brings together the main local entities and civil organizations of that region, after the arrest and transfer of Camacho to La Paz in a questionable police operation.

In addition to the strike, the assembly also ignored the departmental commander of the Police, Jhonny Chávez, whom the regional leaders pointed out as having “lend himself to this vile act of attempt against the life” of the governor.

Camacho sent to maximum security prison

The annoyance of the people of Santa Cruz with the Bolivian Police dates back to the 36-day strike between October and November for the completion of the population census, during which the uniformed officers repressed the protests several times and were accused of acting with bias in favor of pro-government groups that mobilized to counteract the strike.

The president of the Pro Santa Cruz Committee, Rómulo Calvo, announced that although the strike was only for 24 hours, the roadblocks will be maintained indefinitely to prevent the arrival of “those who want to take away other Santa Cruz leaders” and there will also be vigils at the national state institutions to avoid “self-attacks”.

Camacho was sent this morning to the Chonchocoro maximum security prison in the highlands of La Paz with preventive detention for four months by order of a precautionary judge.

The Prosecutor’s Office accuses him in the “coup d’état I” case for the events recorded during the 2019 crisis that led to the resignation of Evo Morales from the Presidency, who later denounced being the victim of a “coup d’état”, in the midst of accusations of electoral fraud in his favor in the failed elections of that year.

For this same case, the former interim president of Bolivia Jeanine Áñez and two of her former ministers were arrested in March 2021, although she was finally sentenced in June of this year to 10 years in prison accused of illegally placing herself in line of presidential succession for the process called “coup d’état II”.

Source: DW