The Commander of the Police in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, has revealed that 40 anti-MAS protesters have been arrested today in the city, and that the vast majority were drunk when detained. Protests against a new Anti-money laundering law were virtually non-existent across the country, except for some small gatherings in the city of Santa Cruz.
Police Commander Orlando Ponce told the La Razón newspaper, “95% of these people who have been arrested were intoxicated at the roadblocks they had erected, this is because from midnight on Monday, they had begun consuming alcoholic beverages,”
Ponce continued, “There were no major incidents today, but there were quite a few people arrested for being drunk while blocking roads, and in some other isolated cases, for example, some people were using large nails (‘miguelitos’) to slash tires of passing cars.”
Blocking roads with tires and other materials is a favored tactic of protesters. However, drinking alcohol in public is banned, most protesters started blocking roads at midnight on Monday, which is when they started intoxicating themselves. By 7:00am today, they were severely drunk and had become a public nuisance.
The intoxicated protesters were opposed to Law 1386, which aims to clamp down on money laundering. Big business interests are concerned that they will fall foul of the new law and have funded protests to oppose it.
Although protests were supposed to take place across the country, none have been registered in other areas of the country, and were largely focused around the center of Santa Cruz.