By Benjamin Dangl and Kathryn Ledebur [abridged]
Over the weekend of 11-12 October, in the city of El Alto, a confrontation between security forces and protesters resulted in 30 dead over one hundred wounded, the great majority from bullet wounds. Protesters in El Alto had been maintaining road blockades for weeks, cutting off the main route to La Paz. As a result, La Paz experienced a severe shortage of gasoline, food and other supplies.
The worst of the confrontations took place on 12 October, when heavily armed military and police escorting gasoline tankers tried to pass through the blockades in Alto to get to La Paz, where the shortage of gasoline and blockades brought transportation to a standstill.
The security forces, armed with high calibre weapons, indiscriminately fired on the protesters and into homes, as they circled the city in helicopters and shot into the crowds from the ground. Some protesters carried sticks and slingshots, and some of the people killed and injured were children.
In the past fourteen months, nearly one hundred people have been killed as a result of confrontations with security forces; the largest number of deaths in that period of time in recent history, including the years that military dictatorships ruled the country.