Indigenous communities march for Morales
Tens of thousands of largely indigenous demonstrators who trekked for nine days in support of President Evo Morales' constitutional reform - which would give more power to the country's indigenous majority - on Monday celebrated the draft's approval by Congress. Our Observer from La Paz took part in the "long march". Read more and see his photos.
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Tens of thousands of largely indigenous demonstrators who trekked for nine days in support of President Evo Morales' constitutional reform - which would give more power to the country's indigenous majority - Monday celebrated the draft's approval by Congress. Our Observer from La Paz took part in the "long march".
The demonstrators marched into the capital and up to the Bolivian parliament on Monday, where MPs were examining Morales' planned reforms of the constitution. They hoped to put pressure on ministers to agree that the constitution be put to the people in a referendum. And after hours of debates, the go-ahead was given last night. The changes introduced by Morales include a chapter on the rights of the country's native people, and increased state control of the economy. Initially opposed to the project because it was thought to give too much power to the president, the opposition has since reached a compromise with the head of state. The referendum, which is expected to be passed, is planned for 25 January.
The procession makes it to La Paz
Photos taken between 18 - 20 October by Mario Durán Chuquimia (see all the photos).
"Indigenous communities support […] the land reform "Mario Durán Chuquimia, our Observer in La Paz, took part in the "long march".
It was amazing. The demonstration, which was organised by Consejos nacional del cambio [social movements from the "21st century left"], managed to gather between 150,000 and 200,000 people. The procession was 12 km long and didn't stop for nine days.
The constitution is not perfect because we had to make some concessions [the complete text, explained, in Spanish, is here]. But indigenous communities all support this reform project, and in particular, the land reform that it lays out. Today some landowners hold over 100,000 hectares of land. If this text is brought in, then there'll be no reason for having over 10,000.
But the demonstration wasn't just about the constitution. It was also a way for indigenous people to denounce the racism that they're victim to and say 'no' to the division in this country that separates 'the whites' and 'them'."