Protest over land dispute in Bolivian town leaves 61 injured

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-11-17 10:59:50

At least 61 people were injured Friday in a clash between police and protesting landowners from the town of Colomi in central Bolivia, said police.

The clash occurred when about 500 police officers were sent in to remove a roadblock set up by protestors on a highway. Ten protestors and 51 police officers were injured, with five of the officers in critical conditions.

The landowners were demanding a resolution of a long-running land demarcation dispute with the neighboring town of Villa Tunari.

The police and protestors told different stories about the violence. The police said their officers were ambushed by rock-throwing protestors, who also set a police vehicle on fire and turned over an ambulance.

But a local leader said the police incited the violence. "We don't want any more confrontation, don't send any more police," Tito Caveros told local radio.

The 10-year-old border dispute between Colomi and Villa Tunari was sparked by a map drafted by the National Statistics Institute. Colomi farmers claim that the next census on Wednesday will favor the municipality of Villa Tunari unless the map is corrected.

The new census would put two villages of Colomi under the jurisdiction of Villa Tunari, leaving Colomi with less state funding, the protestors said.

Bolivia's Deputy Interior Minister Jorge Perez lamented the continuing conflicts between residents, saying the census would only "take a snapshot" of locals to collect information about their living conditions.

Posted in: Americas

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