Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speaking of Protests

The nearly 2,000 marchers, who set out in August and trekked 600km from the lowlands high into the Andes, were greeted as heroes on Wednesday as they entered the capital [La Paz, Bolivia] accompanied by a massive crowd of supporters.


Police and a riot control vehicle were withdrawn from the plaza outside the presidential palace as a gesture of goodwill, and President Evo Morales' information minister extended an official welcome to the protesters.

The protesters oppose plans to build a road through the pristine Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory that would level an ancestral homeland inhabited by 50,000 people from three different native groups.

Although the project has been suspended, the marchers want it killed for good.


Facing the biggest challenge yet from indigenous people in his five years in office, Morales offered late Tuesday to meet with them for talks upon their arrival.

Our correspondent reported that "They pretty much said to him, 'Wait until we get to La Paz then we'll decide if we want to talk to you'".


According to a BBC report, they say they won't meet him until he agrees to halt the road completely, and they intend to stay in the capital until he does.

I don’t know if those bows are for feeding themselves on the journey or if they’ve come prepared for battle.

Almost 400 miles in flipflops makes for a pretty daunting journey.

Not to mention a police attack along the way.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Douglas Ormachea as he watched indigenous protesters enter La Paz at the end of a two-month march from Bolivia's Amazon lowlands.

"Not even the Pope got such a reception when he came to Bolivia."


BBC Video:

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