Bolivian miners dynamite bridge during pension protest
For the third consecutive day, hundreds of Bolivian miners, factory workers and teachers were in the streets demanding pension reform. Today a group of miners blew up a bridge along a major road connecting the eastern and western parts of the country. FSRN’s Aldo Orellana Lopez reports from Cochabamba.
The Bolivian Workers’ Center, the largest organization of unions in the country, called for a nationwide general strike and blockade. The unions want the government to reform pension laws to increase monthly retirement stipends from 70% of a worker’s final salary to 100%.
Union members blocked roads linking the west with the east, hurting trade and passenger traffic. The government called in police to remove the blockades, prompting fierce clashes with factory and mine workers. Several people have been injured. Today, dozens of miners were arrested after they blew up a bridge on a major road linking La Paz to the eastern part of Bolivia. Interior Ministers Carlos Romero spoke to reporters after the incident.
“Police have removed roadblocks to help citizens harmed by the blockade. We’ve arrested more than 100 people who were carrying and throwing dynamite. Additionally we have confiscated a minibus containing lots of dynamite.”
The government urged the workers to return to negotiations, but anticipated that the desired changes to the pension law are financially untenable. Workers say they will not abandon their demands. Aldo Orellana Lopez, FSRN, Cochabamba.