Quantcast

Looting in Bolivia as police strike over low pay

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, June 22, 2012 22:04 EDT
google plus icon
Striking Bolivian police officers seize police headquarters via AFP
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Looting broke out near Bolivia’s presidential palace Friday as junior members of the police force angry over low wages joined a nationwide mutiny.

A crowd of some 200 officers, wearing civilian clothes and covering their faces, attacked the National Intelligence Directorate, smashing windows and pulling out furniture, documents, computers and even setting flags on fire.

The Directorate, which also houses the police disciplinary board, is located one block from the main square in La Paz, where the presidential palace is located.

“Mutiny, police mutiny!” chanted the protesters as they ransacked the office.

Some 20 police stations in the country’s ten main cities, including La Paz and Cochabamba, have joined the uprising. On Thursday, protestors took over the headquarters of the country’s riot police, as well as eight other police stations.

In an upscale La Paz neighborhood, roughly 300 protesters hurled rocks and shattered windows at national police headquarters. Police on duty outside the building offered no resistance.

The protesters, some of whom marched with their wives, also demanded the resignation of national police chief, Colonel Victor Maldonado.

They are demanding to negotiate directly with President Evo Morales, who was in the presidential palace under heavy military protection.

Interior Minister Carlos Romero, however, said in a statement that the government was willing to raise pay and engage in a “dialogue to find solutions.”

Police currently earn an average of $195 a month, and want their lowest pay raised to $287 a month. Demands also include full pay upon retirement.

Photo via AFP

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+