LA PAZ, Bolivia ( Associated Press) – One person was killed in Bolivia on Saturday in clashes between protesters on the first day of a strike announced by the eastern province of Santa Cruz against the government of President Luis Aires to demand a population census next year. ,
The city of Santa Cruz, the most prosperous and opposition stronghold in Bolivia, was without transport on Saturday, with markets and shops closed and avenues and roads blocked by protesters who criticized the government’s decision to postpone the 2024 census. was rejected.
Prosecutor Freddy Duran said a 47-year-old protester apparently died of attacks by rival groups when he tried to unblock a street in Puerto Quijaro, a city in Santa Cruz that borders Brazil. is in. “We are investigating because it is a murder,” he said.
“We condemn the violence perpetrated during a civil strike, which resulted in the loss of one human life. This tragic incident must be investigated and those responsible must be punished,” President Ars said on his Twitter account.
The governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, an opposition leader, blamed the government for mobilizing “shock groups” to stop the protests. Other clashes were recorded on a highway, in which several people were injured.
Meanwhile, the central government and Santa Cruz officials set up a negotiating table on Saturday afternoon to reach an agreement that would allow the protest to be suspended, said Presidency Minister Maria Nela Prada.
Many analysts say the background to the controversy is that a new census would give Santa Cruz more legislative representation and allow it to have more say in political decisions. The Ars government wants to delay registration so that the new redistribution of seats does not undermine its political power in the 2025 presidential elections.
Other regions projected that they would join the Santa Cruz protest next week to ask that the census be carried out in 2023 and not 2024 as the government wants.
The country has remained strongly polarized since the 2019 political crisis, which declared the resignation of then-president Evo Morales as a fraud following failed elections, in which he was seeking a fourth term. The social outbreak at that time took 37 lives in nearly a month of street protests.