Video raises doubts about student’s death in Bolivia protest
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — A surveillance camera video in Bolivia appears to contradict police claims about the death of a demonstrator that has prompted large protests against the government of President Evo Morales.
A lawyer for his university in the city of El Alto says Jonathan Quispe was shot by police while fleeing officers during last week’s demonstration demanding an increased budget for public universities.
“As he escaped the repression, Jonathan went into an alley after he was shot by police, and he bled to dead six minutes later,” said lawyer Victor Campos.
Police initially said that Quispe’s was killed by a marble fired by protesters. But police said late Monday that he died after emerging from a house where he and other students had taken shelter.
On Tuesday, the university principal rejected the new version of the death presented by police.
“We have evidence and witnesses that Jonathan was already injured when he goes into an alley,” Ricardo Nogales told The Associated Press. “We don’t want lies, we want a probe by investigators who can help determine what happened. ... We’re in a state of emergency and we will continue taking to the streets to demand justice.”
The death itself has led to demonstrations by thousands of protesters. Morales says the protests are part of a U.S.-backed effort to drive him from power.
“The empire now has a new sort of coup, and is looking for dead people to accuse us,” Morales said at a public event.
In an attempt to resolve the conflict, government and college authorities have called for talks about providing more state funding for Bolivia’s 15 public universities, where an estimated 440,000 students study.