Tens of thousands of indigenous Bolivians have taken to the streets in La Paz to protest the construction of a road passing through a nature reserve in the Amazon River basin.
Indigenous communities say that the construction of the road would not only endanger the environment of the Amazon, but would also encourage illegal settlements, the Associated Press reported on Friday.
The Bolivian government claims that the road is necessary for the development of the country by linking remote areas to market towns.
Angry protesters blocked the streets of central La Paz, carrying banners opposing the road and criticizing President Evo Morales, saying that the government was “the worst and it should go because it attacked human beings, the indigenous compatriots who had given it their support, and now it’s turned its back on them.”
Many of the protesters called into question President Morales’ commitment to indigenous rights and the protection of “Mother Earth,” which he advocated during his election campaign.
Although the construction of the road has been halted, demonstrations have become violent, with the police firing tear gas at protesters.
Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon resigned in protest at the police action.
Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti and his deputy Marcos Farfan have also stepped down to protest “police brutality” as they term it.
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