Three major cities’ power has been interrupted as Bolivian peasants from the town of Zongo have taken over a power plant.
It is reported that roughly 200 Zongo farmers took over the COBEE plant to demand royalty payments for use of local water supplies.
Affecting electricity output, the peasants have diverted water flow to the plant, leaving many cities such as La Paz, El Alto, and Potosi without power.
Along with another COBEE plant in Miguillas, these plants generate about 24 percent of Bolivia’s electricity.
The interior ministry has shared that Deputy Minister Marcos Farfan and 160 police officers were sent to Zongo to “guarantee the functioning of the electrical energy generators,” and that “under no circumstances will the restriction of basic services be permitted” as the 2009 constitution acknowledges such services are public rights.
In a statement on the matter, government officials stated that cutting off of basic services “constitutes a serious crime, as a result of which appropriate action will be take to punish those responsible for any measure against the interests of the public.”
Israeli firm Inkia Holdings owns the plant.