Hair Cut, Dragged Barefoot; Mayor In Bolivia Faces Protestors' Wrath

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In a gruesome act, opposition protesters in Bolivia's Vinto dragged the mayor through the streets barefoot, covered her in red paint and forcibly cut her hair.

Written By Shubhayan Bhattacharya | Mumbai | Updated On:

In a gruesome act, opposition protesters of a small Bolivian town dragged the mayor through the streets barefoot, covered her in red paint and forcibly cut her hair. Mayor Patricia Arce of the governing Mas party was handed over to police in Vinto after several hours, the BBC reported. The attack was prompted after rumours spread that two opposition protesters had been killed nearby in clashes with supporters of incumbent President, Evo Morales.

READ | Bolivia Says Morales Near Outright Victory, Unrest Spreads

Angry mob acts on suspicion

An angry group then march to the town hall and accused Mayor Arce of having bussed in supporters of the President to try and break a blockade they had set up and blamed her for the reported deaths, one of which was later confirmed. As part of their ongoing demonstrations following a contentious presidential election, a group of anti-government protesters were blocking a bridge in Vinto, a small town in Cochabamba province in central Bolivia. There is yet no evidence to suggest Patricia Arce's involvement in the death.

Masked men dragged Acre through the streets barefoot to the bridge amid shouts of "murderess, murderess". There, they made her kneel down, cut her hair and doused her in red paint before forcing her to sign a resignation letter. The protesters also set her office on fire and smashed the windows of the town hall. After being handed over to the police, Acre was taken to a local health centre. The person killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Morales was identified as 20-year-old student Limbert Guzmán Vasquez. Doctors said Vasquez had a fractured skull which may have been caused by an explosive device. He is the third person to be killed since the clashes between the two sides erupted on 20 October.

READ | Evo Morales Says He’d Welcome Election Audit In Bolivia

Political unrest since election results

Bolivia has seen tensions rise since election night when the results count was inexplicably paused for 24 hours. This prompted suspicions among supporters of opposition candidate Carlos Mesa that the incumbent since 2006 has tried to rig the election result. A president in Bolivia serves a five-year term. When final results were declared, Morales had a 10-percentage-point lead over Mesa, just enough to win outright in the first round of the presidential election. Several election watchdog groups disputed the result and raised concern on its authenticity.

READ | WATCH: Violent Clashes Continue In Bolivia Amid Growing Protests

Morales, 59, a native Aymara from Bolivia’s highlands, became the country’ first indigenous president in 2006 and easily won the two following elections amid more than a decade of a commodities-fed economic boom in South America’s poorest country. He paved roads, sent Bolivia’s first satellite to space and curbed inflation. But he has faced growing dissatisfaction, especially over his refusal to accept the results of a 2016 referendum to keep limits on presidential terms. The country’s top court, considered by critics as friendly to the president, ruled that limits would violate Morales’ political rights as a citizen.

READ | Bolivia Braces For General Strike After Vote Chaos

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