Protesting miners abduct & kill Bolivian minister

Aug 26, 2016, 4:22 AM EDT
About 100,000 miners work in Bolivia's self-managed cooperatives.
(Source: Jimmy Harris/flickr)

Bolivia’s Deputy Interior Minister, Rodolfo Illanes, who went to negotiate with striking miners on Thursday, was allegedly kidnapped and beaten to death by the protesters. More than 100 people have been arrested following the “cowardly and brutal” attack, as the government tries to the retrieve the body of slain minister.

The protesters, who have blocked a highway in Panduro since Tuesday, demand relaxation in environmental rules, right to work in private companies and greater representation for union, reports Al Jazeera. Violence erupted earlier this week after two of the protesters were killed in police firing.

Police have been battling hard to rein in the violent miners, as thousands of passengers and vehicles are left stranded on blocked roads. The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia threatened to hold an indefinite protest after negotiations over a new mining legislation fell apart, writes the BBC.

Self-managed cooperatives employ about 100,000 miners in Bolivia, notes Sky News. According to existing laws, these bodies will lose their cooperative status if the miners start working with multinational businesses.