President Hugo Banzer of Bolivia has compiled with demands for a full political amnesty for all his government's jailed and exiled opponents after a day of widespread protests.
SCU & SV EXT Coffin bearers, weeping, followed by other mourners with wreaths and banners (3 shots)
SV Boy being comforted
SV Coffin being carried into cemetery followed by mourners
GV EXT Office block
SV Man seated at desk, speaking in Spanish
The government has pledged to put the general amnesty into immediate effect, reinstate workers fired because of labour union activities, and give guarantees that the strikers would not suffer official reprisals.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: President Hugo Banzer of Bolivia has compiled with demands for a full political amnesty for all his government's jailed and exiled opponents after a day of widespread protests. The demonstrations were held against the government's decision to break up a three-week old hunger strike by force, during which one young student was killed. Bolivian journalists also went on a 24-hour strike to protest against raids by security forces attempting to break up anti-government hunger strikes.
SYNOPSIS: The dead youth was Raul Mendoza Yanez, who was killed during a demonstration by students. At the head of the funeral procession in the capital, La Paz, were his father, and a brother who was wounded in the foot during the same protest.
Eye witnesses said that Yanez was shot from a passing car. he died later in hospital. The police claimed that they were not responsible.
The mourners included Yanez's relatives and many of his friends and sympathisers. His body was carried to the cemetery in a white coffin -- a Bolivian customs to denote that the dead person was a minor.
More than 1,000 people had been on hunger strike in eight Bolivian cities. The strike was called off because of the amnesty.
The offices of the influential daily newspaper, Presencia, in La Paz, were one venue for the hunger strike.
Dr. Huascar Cajias, director of Presencia and a university lecturer, said the journalists called their strike to protest against raids on the newspaper's office, as well as the La Paz headquarters of the journalists' union.
He said that the security forces had removed eight hunger strikers who had been sheltering there. Editorial staff were jostled and held at gunpoint. Dr. Cajias described the security forces' action as "inhuman", especially because of the extremely weak condition of the strikers. He termed the intrusion a violation of the freedom of the Press, and declared it would not be understood by people living in "democratic countries, where such things don't happen."
The journalists' strike shut down most radio stations for 24 hours, and none of the country's newspaper appeared that day.