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Culture of ‘Public lynching’ bothers Bolivia’s president after protesters drag mayor through streets, cut her hair and cover her in red paint

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Bolivia’s president condemned actions after protesters dragged a Bolivian mayor barefoot through the streets, cut her hair, covered her in red paint and forced her to sign a resignation letter on Wednesday.


Patricia Arce, mayor of the governing Movement to Socialism Party in the town of Vinto, was dragged through the streets by masked protesters who marched to town hall as they yelled “murderess, murderess,” accusing her for being responsible for reported three deaths that resulted from a series of protests following the election on Oct. 20, BBC reported.
Arce had been kidnapped by the masked protesters, who cut her hair which was then douse with red paint along with the rest of her clothing. She was then forced to hold a metal pole as she was paraded, barefoot, around the streets wearing the red paint that covered her face, hair and clothes.
Mayor Arce who belongs to the governing Mas party was handed over to police in Vinto after several hours.
President Evo Morales who controversially won a fresh mandate after 13 years in office, has condemned the actions against Acre: “All my solidarity with our sister mayor of Vinto, Patricia Arce, kidnapped and cruelly abducted for expressing and defending her ideals and the principles of the poorest.
“We condemn the violent actions that cause mourning and pain in the Bolivian family,”
 Morales said in a tweet.

Evo Morales tweet 1.JPGPresident Evo Morales tweeted his support for mayor Patricia Arce, who belongs to his ruling Mas party
Patricia Arce 2 “I’m not afraid to tell my truth. And I’m in a free country. And I’m not going to shut up and if they want to kill me, they kill me. As I’ve said before, for this process of change, I will give my life,”  Patricia Arce said addressing media while surrounded by the protesters on Wednesday

As BBC reports, this was the latest in a series of violent clashes between government supporters and opponents in the wake of controversial presidential elections.

After a 24-hour delay in the result count on the day of the election, clashes have ensued over the last two weeks between supporters and opponents of President Morales, who won the presidential election when the results were finally announced. Morales has been president since 2006, and protesters have suspicions that the election was rigged to allow him to remain president for another five years, BBC reported.
Morales has refused to accept the results of a 2016 referendum that kept limits on presidential terms. Following a decision by the top electoral court in Bolivia, Morales was allowed to seek a fourth term.

An opposition led by former president Carlos Mesa is rejecting an audit from the Organization of American States on the election results, which are expected next week.

Mesa was less than one point away from forcing a runoff against Morales in the election.
A group of anti-government protesters was blocking a bridge in Vinto, a small town in Cochabamba province in central Bolivia, as part of their ongoing demonstrations following the presidential election on 20 October.

Arce was accused by protesters of busing in supporters of Morales to break a blockade they had made, and was blamed for the reported deaths of three people amid the post-election clashes.

As rumors spread that two opposition protesters had been killed nearby in clashes with supporters of Morales, an angry group to marched to the city hall Wednesday, where they grabbed Arce and dragged her barefoot through the city to a bridge.
Arce was forced to kneel on the ground as they cut her hair, covered her in red paint and forced her to sign a resignation letter, BBC reported.
In a video circulating on social media, Arce, is seen surrounded by masked protesters saying: “I’m not afraid to tell my truth. And I’m in a free country. And I’m not going to shut up and if they want to kill me, they kill me. As I’ve said before, for this process of change, I will give my life.”
The protesters, armed with wooden batons and stones, also set fire to the city hall.

She was later turned over to Vinto police and taken to a health care center.

Demonstrations were ongoing in many parts of the country Thursday.

The United Nations called for investigations into the ongoing incidents across the country, and called for “dialogue and peace” by the government and opposition.
“Nothing justifies clashes between Bolivians, and the death of citizens is inconceivable,” a statement from the UN said.

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