by Fionuala Cregan / Intercontinental Cry


On August 19, members of the People’s Guarani Assembly of Takova Mora blocked a main highway in the Chaco region of Bolivia demanding their right to free, prior and informed consent regarding oil extraction on their communal lands. The Government responded by sending in 300 police who broke up the demonstration by force.

Police repression of the blockade in Takovo Mora. (Photo OIEDC)

Police repression of the blockade in Takovo Mora. (Photo OIEDC)

Using tear gas and batons, police then raided the nearby community of Yateirenda–where many of the demonstrators had fled–damaging property and violently arresting 27 people, including 2 youth aged 14 and 17.

According to eye witnesses,

The behaviour of the police was more like that of mercenaries who raided the community without any arrest warrant, attacked houses and used violence to detain leaders.

All 27 detainees were released the following day; however, 17 of them were given extrajudicial sanctions (medidas sustantivas) to prevent them from participating in road blocks or being involved in any events related to the Takova Mora conflict.

This confrontation takes place amidst rising tensions between the Government of Evo Morales and Indigenous Peoples, environmental advocacy groups and civil society organizations critical of his extractivist policies.

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