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Latino Daily News

Sunday February 26, 2012

Amnesty International: Violence Against Disabled Protesters in Bolivia Must be Investigated

Amnesty International: Violence Against Disabled Protesters in Bolivia Must be Investigated

Photo: Disabled Protesters in Bolivia Attacked

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Bolivia’s authorities must initiate a prompt, full and independent investigation into reports that police used excessive force against people with disabilities during a demonstration in La Paz on Thursday, Amnesty International said.

Several people were injured or fainted after the police set up a cordon near the city’s Plaza Murillo and repelled protesters who tried to advance, reportedly using pepper spray and electric shocks indiscriminately.

Officials said police were acting in response to violent attacks by demonstrators, and police officers were also injured in the clashes.

“Disturbing reports and images from near Plaza Murillo seem to show the police lashing out indiscriminately against the protesters, many of whom were using wheelchairs,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Americas Programme Director at Amnesty International.

“Bolivian security forces have a duty to maintain public order, but they should always do so in compliance with international human rights standards on the use of force. Any allegations of abuse should be thoroughly and impartially investigated.”

The clashes in La Paz ended a 100-day journey for many of the protesters, who had covered some 1,000 miles across the country to demand an increase in state subsidies for people with disabilities.