Bolivia’s Morales fumes as protesters attack mayoral ally

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Bolivia’s President Evo Morales condemned on Thursday an attack on a female mayor in which an opposition mob forcibly cut her hair, covered her in paint and marched her barefoot through the streets.

Bolivia has been rocked by deadly post-election violence over opposition claims that Morales rigged his re-election last month.

A 20-year-old student died in clashes on Wednesday between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in the central city of Cochabamba, bringing the overall toll to three dead since the October 20 election.

In nearby Vinto, an opposition mob stormed the municipal headquarters and dragged the mayor Patricia Arce,into the street before setting the building ablaze.

Morales said in a tweet on Thursday that Arce – a member of his ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) party – had been “cruelly abducted for expressing and defending her ideals and the principles of the poorest.”

Television images showed her on the ground, her hair cut, and covered in red paint. She was dragged and forced to walk barefoot through the town by the mob before being rescued by police on motorcycles.

Morales’ party demanded the police bring the perpetrators to justice.

Arce’s office told local media on Thursday the mayor “is recovering” from her ordeal.

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