Strikes and Barricades Surround a Thriving Bolivian Region After Opposition Ruler’s Arrest

The 24-hour strike and street protests began when the La Paz court issued a four-month preventive detention order in the early hours of the morning against Santa Cruz’s highest authority, Luis Fernando Camacho, a top leader of the opposition to the government. of the president. Luis Ars.

Santa Cruz province, a thriving agricultural center in eastern Bolivia, faced shutdowns and closures on main streets in the regional capital on Friday, with several government buildings set ablaze in refusal to arrest the local governor, according to Reuters witnesses. .

The 24-hour strike and street protests began when a court in the western city of La Paz ordered in the early hours of this morning a four-month preventive detention against Santa Cruz’s highest authority, Luis Fernando Camacho, a important leader of the opposition. Administration of President Louis Ars.

The protest actions are linked to the crisis that began in 2019 with the overthrow of then-President Evo Morales, of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) movement, to which Arce also belongs, and has as a backdrop the desire for autonomy for the territory before. The national government is based on peace.

Camacho, who finished third in the 2020 general election and led calls for Morales’ resignation a year ago, was arrested on Wednesday in Santa Cruz in a tear gas operation that his relatives called a “kidnapping” and which , according to them. There were shots.

In addition to the governor, the 43-year-old right-wing lawyer and civic leader, and his successor, Jeanine Áñez, accused of orchestrating a coup, remain in prison for Morales’ resignation.

“Camacho never did anything, there was fraud here, Camacho was the one who defended Bolivia alone,” said Juana Orozco, a woman involved in blocking traffic on a street in the provincial capital, Santa Cruz de la Seu, with tires and tree branches.

Three years ago, Morales stepped down and was granted temporary asylum in Mexico after the military put pressure on him following his re-election amid accusations of fraud and protests that forced him to call new elections.

National authorities did not say how they would respond to checkpoints, despite the deployment of some military forces to Santa Cruz on Thursday night. In the latest series of protests in that region, government-aligned groups clashed violently with Camacho supporters.

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