Fatal clashes, eight arrests and several “sporadic” blockades marked the first day of the open-ended strike in the department of Cochabamba. The government described the measure as a failure; Meanwhile, the union sector announced that the mobilizations would continue today.
In the morning hours of yesterday, closure points were reported in streets adjacent to main roads in sectors of the central and northern parts of the city that had been unlocked by police, and major avenues were guarded by troops.
Meanwhile, the road to the west was blocked by trade unionists and international heavy haulage with a blockade at the level of the Pankuruma River in Sipe Sipe before the Suticollo blockade.
Around 9:30 a.m., police officers cleared the streets with heavy machinery and dispersed the demonstrators with chemical agents.
“Unfortunately the police came with total abuse, they started gassing, they arrested fellow soldiers. We have been speaking out against this law, which affects the entire Bolivian people, since August. We will continue the action ”, said César Gonzáles, head of the trade unions in Cochabamba.
After the intervention, police reported that two people were arrested and referred to the Special Crime Control Unit (Felcc).
After the day, Vice Minister of the Interior Nelson Cox reported that a total of 20 people had been arrested in the department, one of the Cochala Youth Resistance “found with elements that are violent and needs clearing up and the Department of Public Affairs is” qualifying “.
The arrested and detained were intercepted at the blockade points because of resistance to the authorities, he said. “There is a level of violence among people who have been in lockdown points,” he said.
Confrontation in markets
During the morning, threats of confrontation between traders and people against pressure from trade unionists and transport companies were reported in the La Cancha area. The police intervened in the sector after several attacks.
The merchants denounced being attacked by anti-social and drunk people, questioning the delay in police action. They also blocked part of San Martín Avenue. After that first day, the unionists ratified the open-ended strike and condemned the excesses of the police.