Clashes in Bolivia disabled protest

Disabled protester clashes with police in La PazImage copyright

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The Bolivian government said a group of radical protesters attacked police first

Police in Bolivia have clashed with disabled protesters who tried to approach the presidential palace to demand an increase in state benefits.

The Bolivian government said a group of protesters attacked police officers with knives and noxious gases.

Police pushed them back with high-pressure water cannons.

Disabled activists have been camping in central La Paz for a month, calling for a five-fold increase in disability benefits.

Disability benefit amounts to 500 bolivianos a month (£10; $14).

The government of leftist President Evo Morales has rejected their demands.

It said it had reached a comprehensive deal other disability groups over the past weeks.

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Image caption

Disabled protesters have been prevented from getting close to Mr Morales’s office

“We have now a small, intransigent group who refuses to accept the 42-point deal we have reached with disability groups,” said the Interior Ministry statement.

“We believe this type of action is aimed at generating conflict, clashes and violence.”

Many of the protesters involved in the clashes were wheelchair users. Passers-by and shop-owners were also affected, La Razon newspaper reported.

Bolivia is one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

It has some 388,000 people with disability, according to official figures, AFP news agency reported.

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