Bolivia mayor dragged through streets, has hair cut by protesters as election violence swells
The mayor of a small town in Bolivia has become the latest victim of violence in the country that has seen violent street clashes intensifying over the country's disputed election nearly three weeks ago.
Officials said Wednesday that a third person was killed in street clashes between supporters and foes of President Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, who has accused the opposition of trying to stage a coup.
The deadly incident on Wednesday happened in the city of Cochabamba, where 20-year-old student Limbert Guzman was killed in a spate of clashes.
Morales, who expressed his condolences on Twitter, said Guzman had been a victim of violence promoted by political groups that encourage racial hate.
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Meanwhile, in the town of Vinto, located about 210 miles from Cochabamba, the mayor of the governing Mas party was attacked by protesters after rumors that two members of the opposition had been killed by supporters of Morales, according to the BBC.
Vinto Mayor Patricia Arce Guzman was confronted at the town hall by protesters, who then dragged her out barefoot through the streets of the town as windows at the city building were broken and her office was set on fire.
Guzman was then forced to kneel down as demonstrators cut her hair, doused her in red paint, and forced her to sign a resignation letter all while yelling "murderess, murderess," according to the BBC.
Police eventually rescued the mayor and carried her away; she was pictured covered in red paint and dirt.
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The clashes in Bolivia have continued to escalate this week, with police firing tear gas to push back stone-throwing demonstrators during clashes late Tuesday and early Wednesday as they attempted to march on the presidential palace.
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Opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho has been leading protests in Santa Cruz, the country's most populous city, demanding Morales step aside following the Oct. 20 election.
Opponents challenge an official count that showed Morales winning by a margin big enough to avoid the need for a runoff against a united opposition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.