Second March by Indigenous Groups Against Highway in Bolivia

Protesters on the first march in August 2011
Source: AP

Yesterday 300 members of various indigenous groups in Bolivia started a second march to the Bolivian capital La Paz to protest against a proposed highway that would cross a protected area. The marchers all come from the area of the Tipnis national reserve, located 600 kilometres from La Paz in the Bolivian Amazon. The first march, which started last summer, was a disaster for Evo Morales’ government. Morales chose to repress the march using police forces, which led to violent clashes. His decision led to widespread protest across the country and the resignation of two government ministers. In response to the violence,  the Central Obrera Boliviana, the largest trade union organisation in Bolivia called a general strike.

Under mounting pressure, the government canceled the project. It appeared that the march, despite the bloodshed, had been a success. After a few months, however, and several rallies supporting the project, the government rescinded on its promise and restarted the construction. The second march is significantly smaller than the first, with only 300 participants compared to 1,500 before, but it still has the possibility of causing major problems for Morales.


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