PYLON, Bolivia (Reuters) – Hundreds of trucks lined a highway in Bolivia’s agricultural region of Santa Cruz on Tuesday to place orders.
Protests have gripped the low-lying regions since right-wing local leader Luis Camacho was arrested on December 28 on “terrorism” charges related to the alleged 2019 coup against then-President Evo Morales.
Protesters demanding Camacho’s release blocked a highway outside the area with tires, branches and stones, stalling long lines of traffic, Reuters witnessed. The blockade threatens grain and food deliveries across the country.
“I’ve been stuck here since Sunday night in bad weather, enduring rain and heat,” Bolivian transport driver Alexander Cejas, 40, told Reuters.
“We don’t belong to any political party, but it’s the heavy transportation that bears all the costs of the broken dishes.”
Truck drivers and business leaders in the region, a stronghold of conservative opposition to the socialist government of Luis Arce, said the protests were hurtful and called for order.
“People are upset by the imprisonment of a right-wing governor and want him free, but we are suffering from this situation,” said Luis Eberto Godoy, a Brazilian truck driver who transports Bolivian gas. Told.
Leaders of Santa Cruz’s biggest business group have called on the country’s authorities to abide by the rule of law and treat the area with “respect,” but also urged protesters to lift the lockdown. .
Fernando Hurtado, president of the regional chamber of industry Cainco, said in a video message along with other business leaders, “If I am unable to work because I am constantly suffering from new disturbances, siege, strikes or blockades, I We lose power.
Another source at a local business group said it would be difficult for the region to sustain long protests and roadblocks as many people were still reeling from the long strikes in October and November last year. Told.
“No one can afford to suffer more,” said the man.
In the city of Santa Cruz, protesters clash in the streets every night, burning cars and tires and dropping fireworks. Some even marched peacefully. Police responded by using tear gas. A small march is taking place in the highland city of La Paz.
“We are a peaceful nation. We want peace and we want to work under normal conditions,” Gabriela Arias protested Camacho’s release at the Women’s March in Santa Cruz.
Others blame Camacho for some of the events that led to deadly protests rocking the country in 2019 and ultimately leading to the resignation of left-wing icon Morales. , led some of the protests as local civic leaders.
“Blood was spilled in Bolivia. This cannot go unpunished. We need to get justice. That’s why we are here.”
Reporting by Agustín Markarian of Pylon, Daniel Ramos of La Paz and Monica Masicao. By Raul Cortes Fernandez.Editing by David Gregorio
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.