Bolivian Coca Growers Erupt in Protest against New Plantation Law

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La movilizaci贸n comenz贸 el viernes como una vigilia. El fin de semana se radicaliz贸 y como adelantaron los dirigentes no se permite ni circulaci贸n vehicular ni peatonal al interior (El tiempo)
The protest began on Friday as a vigil, but soon turned violent. (El tiempo)

Espa帽olBolivian police intervened on Los Yungas coca growers Monday who were protesting a bill in the country’s National Assembly.

The demonstration began as a vigil last Friday, but over the weekend protests intensified and leaders did not allow pedestrians or vehicles to pass聽the Plaza Murillo.

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The Bolivian government presented a coca leaf bill at the start of this year that would legalize 20,000 hectares of land for the growing of coca leaves. That extra land allows for 8,000 hectares more than is currently legal, which negatively affects聽Yungas聽coca production.

Local authorities tried to intervene with water and gas first, but聽the coca growers endured, regrouped and announced that they were planning to聽radicalize.

Minister Carlos Romero聽spoke out in disapproval of the demonstration, saying that they had requested an investigation into those that had thrown objects at cars and destroyed other private property.

Romero said聽the demands of the Yungas have indeed been met and that the government guaranteed them they would treat their heritage of growing coca respectfully 鈥 most notably in the form of tax exemptions聽for commercial coca.

The minister said聽it was聽unacceptable for production in traditional areas to be unlimited as 鈥斅燼 political measure that would prevent collision with markets in聽Cochabama.

Minister of Rural Development C茅sar Cocarico invited the protesters聽to聽to a dialogue that has not yet taken place despite their聽demands to speak with President Morales.

General Police commander Abel de la Barra attempted to enable access to the square without success, and all eight entrances still remain closed.

Source: El Deber

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