Judiciary announces 48-hour strike

La Paz, August 25 (AP-AFP) - The judicial power announced that it would go on strike this Thursday and Friday, demanding that the government of Evo Morales respect democratic institutionality, following the government’s recent decision to suspend and put on trial four magistrates from the Constitutional Tribunal for presumed prevarication.

The Association of Magistrates of Bolivia announced the strike in a statement distributed to the media. Juan Pereira, president of the organization, affirmed that the protest would involve the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the nine superior district courts.

The protest would be complemented with an official denouncement in the United Nations and the Organisation of American States, against this action by the government, which the judges consider to be a violation of human rights, Pereira told the newspaper La Prensa.

On Wednesday, the MAS majority in the chamber of deputies approved the opening of a trial of responsibility for prevarication, in a session held outside congress, and in the absence of the opposition, following a fight, involving the exchange of blows and kicks, between followers and those that oppose Morales in the parliament.

Meanwhile, civic organizations convoked a stoppage for this Tuesday in six of the nine departments for the same reason. They added support to Sucre as one of their demands, where street protests have been held over the last two weeks, in rejection of the decision by the constituent assembly to end debate over moving the executive and legislative power from La Paz to this southern city.

The announced stoppage in the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, Tarija, Sucre and Cochabamba was decided upon, to pressure MAS into reconsidering its resolution against Sucre, and so that the government would cease in its intents to put the magistrates on trial.

Diverse sectors have asked president Morales to convoke a high level political dialogue to lower tensions and seek agreed upon solutions to the crisis, but the proposal was discarded on Friday by the Ministry of Government, Alfredo Rada, who said that “political summits” were symbols of previous governments.

“This is a political movement that has as its objective to truncate the constituent process”, said Rada in regards to the proposed stoppages. Nevertheless, the Defender of the People (Ombudsman), Waldo Albarracin, initiated consultations on Friday with the sectors in conflict to search for solutions to the crisis over the issue of Sucre.

Translated from AP and AFP

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