16 dead in Bolivian mine battles

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Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 7 2006 18:34
16 dead in Bolivian mine battles

I thought this would basically be some strike situation with workers against scabs, but it doesn't really seem to simple. Seems a pretty fucked up situation really:

any writing on it from a leftie/working class point of view anyone know?

Big Brother
Joined: 17-01-05
Oct 10 2006 17:13
From the Metro website

Miners in two-day dynamite fight
Monday, October 9, 2006

An uneasy truce is underway in Bolivia, after two groups of miners decided to spend two days fighting each other with dynamite in a row over access to the mine.

The mine in the town of Huanuni is one of the world's largest tin mines, and the battle was between employees of the state-owned mining company and independent miner's collective, both of whom wanted more opportunity to mine there.

So, naturally, they stormed the mine, and fought a two-day running battle throughout the mine and the surrounding area, throwing sticks of dynamite at each other.

'It was raining dynamite,' one independent miner told the Associated Press.

A truce, negotiated on Thursday night to let both side bury their casualties, was quickly broken when they started throwing dynamite at each other again. Eventually, the government had to send 700 police officers to the mine to quell the violence and impose a cessation.

Football-loving, jumper-sporting Bolivian President Evo Morales – who rose to power on strong support from poor working class groups like the miners – promptly sacked his mining minister for failing to anticipate the dynamite battle.

A source in Bolivia told Metro: '16 people died as two bunches of miners competed to blow up their own mine.'

'They had lots of dynamite. So they literally blew their mine, their town and themselves to pieces for two days. Until some police arrived armed with teargas, and they went, “Oh, OK, sorry.”'