Bolivian police divided over pay deal | News | DW | 24.06.2012
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Bolivian police divided over pay deal

The Bolivian police strike is set to continue with divisions between officers who want to accept and those who want to reject the offer for an improved pay deal.

Bolivian police officers clashed with colleagues attempting to return to work on Sunday. This is despite a deal aimed at ending three days of unrest over pay that has reduced police presence across the country.

Close to 50 officers have been injured and several police stations damaged during the strikes. They are a fresh test to President Evo Morales who has been dealing with social conflict over the past year.

"We've no doubt that there are conspiratorial intentions," said Government Minister Carlos Romero. He confirmed clashes persisted among some divisions of the nation's police across several towns throughout the country.

"We've taken an important step, however, toward neutralizing this coup-mongering action," he added.

Bolivia has seen 193 coups since independence in 1825.

Protesting police converged on the square in front of the presidential palace on Sunday accusing the country's leaders of giving up on them. A small number of officers clashed with on-duty officers trying to guard the palace.

Earlier on Sunday, government officials and union leaders struck a deal on wages and working conditions. As part of the agreement, the government proposed paying the country's 32,000 police officers a minimum monthly wage of $300 (238 euros), bringing them in line with other public-sector employees in Bolivia.

No reports of serious crime occurred across the country, despite a decreased police presence. Bolivia is the world's third largest producer of cocaine.

Morales asserted he would aim to avoid a repeat of the 2003 police protests which required armed military to calm the situation and which killed dozens of officers.

jlw/jm (Reuters, AP)