LA PAZ – Dynamite charges were detonated at a union protest in La Paz on Wednesday, a year after this practice was decriminalized, at which several people were injured.
Hundreds of workers laid off after the closure of the state-run textile firm Enatex clashed with police and two people were wounded by dynamite charges. One person was beaten and another 76 were arrested during the second day of protests after Enatex laid off about 850 workers.
One of the firm’s workers had his hand and part of his arm blown off when a dynamite charge exploded in the clash, which lasted two hours and took place around the old workplace, EFE learned.
The other person injured by dynamite was a local photographer who may have lost his eyesight after being hit by shrapnel from a blast.
The head of the FELCC special anti-crime force, Col. Gary Omonte, told reporters that 76 people were arrested, including six women, who will be charged with damaging state property, resisting authority and possession of explosives.
The government of Evo Morales on May 1, 2015, legalized using dynamite charges at union protests at the request of the mining sector.
In 2012, the government had banned dynamite and other high-risk materials by decree after several people were killed when it was used in social conflicts.
A day after its legalization, an 86-year-old man died from wounds he suffered in a dynamite blast in the Andean town of Achacachi celebrating May Day.
A union leader, who did not identify himself, told reporters that protesters will continue using dynamite since it is “our only weapon” against the antiriot equipment used by the police.
The hundreds of protesting workers also hurled stones and stocks at police and blocked certain streets with wood, gasoline and tires to be used in bonfires.
The incidents occurred at the end of the union march.
Security forces beat at least two demonstrators after they had already subdued and arrested them, according to television images.