The conflict over coca cultivation in Bolivia causes vehicles to catch fire and damages police infrastructure

Clashes between coca farmers and Bolivian authorities continued this Friday, in which at least five vehicles were burned and police infrastructure was damaged in the country’s capital, La Paz.

Vice Minister for Civil Security Roberto Ríos has reported that at least three people have been arrested for the fires, while coca farmers and collective protesters denounced the repression by the authorities for the fifth consecutive day.

Hundreds of coca farmers from Los Yungas de La Paz, in opposition to the government and in connection with the leader Armin Lluta, have reported again to demand control of the market of the departmental association of coca producers (Adepcoca) – now under the leadership of the leader Arnold Alanes, supported by the executive.

The conflict over coca cultivation in Bolivia causes vehicles to catch fire and damages police infrastructure
The conflict over coca cultivation in Bolivia causes vehicles to catch fire and damages police infrastructure

However, the protest, which also sought dialogue with the current Vice President of Adepcoca, David Choquehuanca, has led to clashes and scenes of violence, including dynamite explosions by coca farmers and the use of gas media ‘La Razón’.

In connection with this, five police vehicles were set on fire and one police unit was damaged, whereupon Ríos promised that “appropriate action” would be taken while denying any dialogue between the coca farmers and Adepcoca later in the day.

On the other hand, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) condemned the “excessive use of force” in the coca cultivation conflict in Bolivia this Friday before the new riots and confrontations.

OHCHR regretted the arrest of 30 people during protests in the sector on Thursday, saying 19 of them were bruised. It has also denied the “mistreatment” of five journalists while carrying out their duties in the context of the demonstrations.

“The excessive and disproportionate use of force undermines trust in the institutions and is a violation of the law that must be investigated and punished in order not to repeat itself. The victims have a right to redress, ”the UN agency urged the South American country’s press.

The coca farmers’ conflict arose out of the dispute between the Adepcoca leadership after the Los Yungas sector was driven from the association’s market on Monday, until then under the leadership of the leader Armin Lluta.

A block of coca farmers affiliated with the government then backed leader Arnold Alanes to chair the association, which has since been protected by police in response to the sector’s protests related to Lluta.

Until last week, the boss Armin Lluta controlled the headquarters, where the legal market for marketing the paper also operates. Early on Monday morning, this area was evacuated after an intervention and the police were guarding the place.

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