Bolivian labour leaders have called off their general strike and workers were expected to return to work on Thursday (8 November) after a week of violent political turmoil following Colonel Alberto Natusch's coup d'etat.
Bolivian labour leaders have called off their general strike and workers were expected to return to work on Thursday (8 November) after a week of violent political turmoil following Colonel Alberto Natusch's coup d'etat. On Wednesday night, (7 November) Colonel Natusch lifted martial law and press censorship, and said that political prisoners would be freed. His broadcast was made after parliamentary sources said the military had agreed to a congressional proposal that the armed forces, organized labour and parliament should jointly rule the country. The armed forces have stipulated that Colonel Natusch represent them.
SYNOPSIS: Bolivia has been virtually paralysed by strikes since the overthrow of the new civilian government. Fifty civilians have been killed in La Paz alone. Hundreds more were wounded when jets strafed a meeting and army tanks were called in to disperse protesters. Impassioned anti-junta speeches were delivered by Bolivian who had opposed the ending of only three-months of civilian rule.
Riot police tried to calm tempers, and control the crowd as armed police patrolled the streets of La Paz.
Cobblestones were ripped from the streets to build barricades. But the police soon arrived on the scene and hurled tear gas canister into the crowd
The clashes were often bloody and reports said that on one occasion soldiers in a jeep had fired their machine guns at a crowd. A priest in Sao Paulo's Socorro church said that at least four strikers were injured on Tuesday (6 November) when police broke in and ordered the strikers back to work.
Hundreds of foreign tourists were airlifted out of Bolivia on Tuesday before the armed troops staged their massive show of force in La Paz. Five hundred and four American, German, and French tourists were driven to the airport under military escort for a flight to Lima in Peru.
Although labour leaders have called off the general strike, they have announced that they will not join the Colonel's proposed triumvirate of labour, army and parliament.