Page last updated at 01:11 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Bolivian unrest ruled 'massacre'

Bolivian President Evo Morales at the presidential palace in La Paz on 27 November 2008
Mr Morales called the protests an attempt to destabilise his government

A commission investigating the killing of 20 Bolivians during protests in an opposition-controlled province has described it as a "massacre".

Bolivian President Evo Morales says he welcomes the findings into the deaths in September.

"Conspiring against democracy...using's not the best way," Mr Morales said.

The commission recommends those responsible for the deaths be tried for murder in Bolivian courts.

The opposition has dismissed the report as biased and politically motivated.

The high-ranking regional commission was appointed following an emergency meeting of the leaders of the Unasur group of South American countries three days after the killings.


Long-standing political unrest erupted into violence in September, killing at least 20 people, mainly in the Pando region near the Brazilian border.

The unrest flared during a bitter power struggle between the leftist president and conservative rivals opposed to his drive to implement a new constitution.

Unveiling the commission's findings on behalf of the 12-member panel, Argentine legal expert Rodolfo Mattarollo said some of the 20 mostly Morales supporters were killed in what he called "a massacre under the UN definition of the word".

He said some of the killers worked for Pando's opposition-controlled provincial government.

Following the violence, the Bolivian government declared martial law in Pando and arrested its governor, Leopoldo Fernandez.

It accused Mr Fernandez of hiring hitmen to kill farmers on their way to a pro-government rally, charges he denies.

The state of emergency was lifted late last month.

Print Sponsor

Bolivian rivals begin peace talks
18 Sep 08 |  Americas
Morales presses opponents on deal
17 Sep 08 |  Americas
Troops arrest Bolivian governor
16 Sep 08 |  Americas
Neighbours back Bolivian leader
16 Sep 08 |  Americas
In Bolivia's opposition heartland
14 Sep 08 |  Americas
Move to tackle Bolivian turmoil
14 Sep 08 |  Americas
Expulsions stoke US-LatAm dispute
12 Sep 08 |  Americas

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific