Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Mayor of Bolivian town dragged through streets, covered in paint by protesters

Patricia Arce mayor of Vinto in Bolivia speaks to the media after being attacked in the street by a crowd that sprayed her with reddish paint and cut her hair on Nov. 6 2019 Bolivian protesters drag town mayor barefoot in streets, forcefully cut her hair
Patty Aguilar | 08 November, 2019, 14:37

Authorities in Bolivia say a third person has been killed in street clashes that have intensified since the country's disputed election almost three weeks ago.

Bolivia's government slammed "shameful" violence that led to scores being injured and one killed on Wednesday in protests over the contentious presidential election last month, blaming clashes on the opposition as anger rises on both sides.

The ferocious mob dragged the mayor, Patricia Arce of the governing MAS party, out of the hall, spray painted her red and chopped off her hair while chanting "Murderess!"

Morales condemned the attack on Arce in a tweet on Wednesday.

A group of anti-government protesters was blocking a bridge in Vinto, a small town in Cochabamba province in central Bolivia, as part of their ongoing demonstrations following the presidential election on 20 October.

It was alleged that the two protesters had been killed during clashes with President Morales' supporters.

The mask-wearing mob repeatedly accused her of being a "murderess" and carried out the attack, eventually forcing her to sign a letter of resignation and torching and ransacking the town hall.

Shouting, "murderer, murderer", the mob pushed the mud-covered pol to the ground and forcibly cut her hair before she was rescued by police and taken to a local hospital, the network said.

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The deadly incident on Wednesday happened in the city of Cochabamba, where 20-year-old student Limbert Guzman was killed in a spate of clashes.

Mayor Arce was subsequently handed over to the police, who sped away with her on a bike.

The protestors, armed with wooden batons and stones, also set fire to the city hall, according to local media reports. Doctors said Guzmán Vasquez had a fractured skull which may have been caused by an explosive device.

Tension has been running high since election night when the results count was inexplicably paused for 24 hours.

The suspension precipitated suspicions among supporters of opposition candidate Carlos Mesa that the end result had been rigged to permit Morales, who has been in energy since 2006 to pause on for one other 5 years.

The figures showed Morales just 0.7% short of the 10-percentage point advantage needed to avoid a runoff.

Election observers from the Group of American States (OAS) expressed their concerns and an audit by the physique is now underway. However, Mesa has rejected the audit arguing that it was agreed without his or his party's input.

Morales accuses the opposition of trying to stage a coup.

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