University Students Armed with Rocks Defend University in Cochabamba, Bolivia

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09 May 2012. Cochabamba. Leaders of the FUL (Local University Federation) and various faculties, have surrounded the UMSS (Universidad Mayor de San Simón) in Cochabamba and have armed themselves with rocks and sticks to repel possible provocation by coca growers and sectors that support the Bolivian government.

FUL leader Alejandro Mostajo stated that the university assembly had approved a vigil around UMSS facilities, especially the Faculty of Medicine, after government supporters had warned they would take revenge for damage done yesterday to the parliament and a building belonging to coca producers.

Hundreds of university students have blocked Oquendo Avenue, at the corner of Jordán Street since early Wednesday morning, and the main access gates to the university have been closed to avoid possible confrontations with thousands of coca producers who marched into the city of Cochabamba from surrounding tropical areas.

"All of the leaders of the FUL, faculties and schools of the university are present at this vigil to safeguard our university and tell the Government we aren't afraid because they no longer represent the Bolivian people. Today we are holding this vigil, but on Thursday we will return to the street in defense of the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB labor unions), doctors, healthcare workers, and the indigenous protest," he added.

Mostajo admitted that in order to safeguard the university campus and defend themselves, the university students are armed with sticks, rocks, and other hard objects to respond to any offense by the coca producers.

"Despite all of this, we exhort our fellow university students to not give in to any provocation by the government supporters while we continue to prepare mass mobilizations along with healthcare workers, medical students and doctors who are demanding Decree 1126 be annulled," he said.

Source: Date: 09 May 2012
This is a translation. Read more in Spanish here.

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