Sept. 26 - A day after police clash with an indigenous group in Bolivia, thousands of people take to the streets to protest the crack down. Sarah Irwin reports.
A day after a violent police crackdown against Bolivia's indigenous people, police use tear gas and batons against demonstrators gathered to protest the government's actions. Burning tires on the tarmac, supporters of the indigenous shut down the Rurrenbaque airport, freeing some protesters who had been arrested a day earlier in Yucumo. One local resident voiced her support for the indigenous. SOUNDBITE: Local Resident: "We want these innocent people to be freed. We don't want them scooped up and abused." On Sunday, violence had ensued after police clashed with indigenous people who had staged a month-long protest against a government plan to build a highway through a rain forest reserve. By Monday, tensions spread across Bolivia - as protesters around the nation demonstrated against President Evo Morales. In Santa Cruz, protesters held a hunger strike - and in La Paz, thousands took to the streets - carrying signs, chanting against the government and some demanding Morales' resignation. Indigenous leader Sebastian Quispe. SOUNDBITE: Indigenous leader Sebastian Quispe: "The president is behaving exactly like our murderers, our oppressors. He should know that his people, from the highlands, the indigenous people, are going to topple him. We are going to make him fall." A government spokesman justified state's use of force. SOUNDBITE: Government spokesman Sacha Llorenti: "The operation was authorized by the prosecutor who not only instructed to disperse the blockade and the protesters but to also evacuate them to preserve their physical integrity." Indigenous officials have said a 3-month old baby is dead and dozens of protesters missing following Sunday's crackdown. Two government ministers resigned in protest against the police. Sarah Irwin, Reuters.