Moments of tension mark the end of the year in the Santa Cruz region, in Bolivianwhere a group of more than 20 people were arrested this Saturday for trying to take control of local police and attacking public buildings during a protest for the release of its governor, Luis Fernando Camacho.
It concerns an opposition leader who was arrested in La Paz last Wednesday by order of a public prosecutor, without specifying the crimes he is accused of, although stating that he was in the context of the case he is investigating. the sacking of Evo Morales forcibly in 2019.
As a result, the authorities of his department denounced the fact and indicated that the leader was “kidnapped in a totally irregular police operation and taken to an unknown destination.”
To claim the arrest and ask for their release, in the last few hours dozens of citizens have given life to a series of demonstrations that have been repeated throughout the city, which -although they had begun as peaceful- soon turned into violence with the fire of vehicles and attacks on public buildings.
In this sense, after a group of them attempted to take over the local police command, more than 20 demonstrators were arrested as part of a major operation which included screaming, running and tear gas.
According to the Santa Cruz newspaper Duty, it all kicked off “as the afternoon was fading”. “People have gathered at the feet of Christ the Redeemer with the idea of reaching the Police Headquarters, which is located a few meters from the monument. This was encouraged by a publication on an unofficial page that impersonates the Cruceñista Youth Union”, indicated the medium.
Likewise, the publication detailed that there were burning tires and the effects of tear gas had spread to the streets around the monument. “Desperate cries of people affected by the chemical agents were heard, which mingled with people’s expressions of anger heightened by excessive police action,” they said.
“It was in those moments that the spark of violence was lit. Police officers did not let go of the uproar of people demanding the release of the Santa Cruz authority. With chemical agents and bullets, the men in uniform prevented the passage of young people, including members of the Youth Union and people who arrived on motorcycles to join the fray”, the story of Duty.
There is no official report on the number – or identity – of the detainees. However, as late as midnight on Friday, local media claimed there were more than twenty.
Furthermore, they added: “Following the violence, a journalist was wounded at point blank range by the police. It is José Enrique Tarqui, cameraman of Periodismo Somos Todos. The communicator denounced this fact on social networks. From his body, the medical personnel have extracted five dots”.
The Bolivian ombudsman has asked for guarantees for the press during the conflicts
Following incidents with journalists and media and press workers during protests in Bolivia, the Bolivian Ombudsman’s Office has extended a request to President Luis Arce.
In it, he called for actions “to ensure the exercise of freedom of the press” due to the attacks by the Police. Furthermore, the Ombudsman asked the authorities to “find those responsible and establish the related sanctions” together with “actions to guarantee the exercise of press freedom and the work of the media”.
He also asked the sectors mobilized in the protests in Santa Cruz “to stop the violence and avoid more victims”.
Similarly, the associate director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), César Muñoz, expressed his concern about the criminal case against the opposition governor of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho.
“We are concerned about the way the criminal trial for terrorism against Governor Luis Fernando Camacho is unfolding, in which the government of President @LuchoXBolivia is a civil party together with a former deputy from his party,” said Muñoz in the first of various messages on Twitter.
In them, he referred to allegations of “due process violations during Camacho’s arrest”, such as the action of police officers “with their faces covered, without personal identification” as well as the fact that the governor “was untraceable for hours” without access to his lawyer.
With information from agencies
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.