Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bolivian Protester Killed in Continuing Anti-Government Rebellion

Protesters in Sucre, Bolivia
A protesting Bolivian miner was killed Thursday and at least one other was wounded near the city of Sucre as lawmakers suspended a special session to appoint successor to President Carlos Mesa who resigned earlier this week.

Bolivian lawmakers canceled a special session after they failed to reach agreement on how to replace President Mesa and end a worsening crisis. The session was to be held in the former colonial capital Sucre, some 640 kilometers from LaPaz . Thousands of miners and farmers clashed with police outside the building there in an effort to thwart the legislative session.

Police sources said one miner was shot dead and at least two others were wounded in the protest. This is the first reported fatality in nearly four weeks of demonstrations by indigenous people and political opposition demanding nationalization of Bolivia's natural gas industry and more say in running the government.

President Mesa resigned on Monday and called for new elections, but legislators were prepared to appoint as his successor the hugely unpopular leader of the Senate, Hormando Vaca Diez, who is legally next in line for the presidency.

But Union leader Willi Quinteros, as many of the demonstrators, is calling for new elections. Mr. Quinteros says, "we want a new government, we want elections to be called and a government that will defend our country."

The protests have spread from La Paz to the tropical lowlands and are threatening to bring Bolivia's economy to a halt. Earlier this week, activists seized several foreign-owned oil-field installations. La Paz is running out of food and there are reports of looting.

A majority of Bolivia's almost nine million people consider themselves of indigenous descent. Their leaders, labor activists, farmers and students are demanding a more representative government and a halt to free-market policies.