Global Politics

Political unrest in Bolivia

At the heart of this week's anti-government protests are students. They claim they're part of a student movement. Most of the protesters are teenage boys who have taken to the streets armed with clubs and rocks and sometimes even explosives. This 17 year old was part of a group of 200 students who took over some government offices yesterday. He's not sure of what he wants and then his friends remind him: they want the gas royalties that they say the government robbed them of. The movement was founded 50 years ago even then of protecting the region's oil reserves. These days that means autonomy from the government of Evo Morales, who has called for a redistribution of wealth from richer regions to poorer parts as well. The courtyard from the movement is filled with teenage boys. The ruler of the movement denies that the movement is responsible for this week's violence. Not all youth in this region aspire to be opposition supporters. In this poorer neighborhood of the region, this 14 year old says there have been discussions on how to stand up to opposition violence, and there have been confrontations between the two groups. During the previous night's attacks, this girl says her car was attacked. At least 8 people died in such street confrontations throughout Bolivia yesterday. Today the Bolivian government said it wants to start a dialogue with the opposition, but there seems to be little common ground.

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