Morales slaps state of emergency on Bolivian region
Bolivia's President Evo Morales ordered emergency measures in one of five states where unrest against his rule has flared into violence, as the crisis engulfing his nation pulled in other Latin American countries and even the United States, reported AFP.
Morales issued the decree Friday that put soldiers and police in charge of the northeastern state of Pando after youths in the territory ransacked government offices Friday, and following the deaths there of eight pro-government demonstrators on Thursday.
Defense Minister Walker San Miguel announced the order, saying bars would close early, the carrying of firearms or explosives was prohibited, and demonstrations were outlawed without police permission. He added that several Peruvians were suspected to be among those who opened fire on some of the eight victims from Thursday.
Bolivian television reported that troops had taken control of the airport of Cojiba, in Pando.
The decree heightened tensions in Bolivia, which has been wracked by four days of violent clashes between pro- and anti-government militants.
A challenge by rebel governors in five of Bolivia's nine states -- Pando, Beni, Tarija, Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz -- to Morales's bid to impose a socialist constitution and to redefine land ownership in the country is fuelling the confrontations.