Mayor’s hair cut off by protesters

A female mayor has been attacked by protesters and had her hair cut off by force in Bolivia.

During the recent disturbing incident, Patricia Arce, the leader of the small town of Vinto in Bolivia, was dragged away by opposition demonstrators who pelted her with red paint and cut her hair.

The attack against Ms Arce took place as anti-government protesters blocked a bridge in the small town.

However, a rumour began circulating that two fellow demonstrators had been killed nearby during a conflict with pro-government activists.

The Vinto protesters stormed town hall and accused the mayor of mobilising the rival protesters and blamed her for the alleged deaths.

The mask-wearing mob repeatedly accused her of being a "murderess" and carried out the attack, eventually forcing her to sign a letter of resignation and torching and ransacking the town hall.

Ms Arce was also dragged through the street without shoes, and was eventually released to police after several hours.

She was immediately taken to a medical centre, although it is understood she was not hurt.

She also gave a press conference soon after the attack, and harrowing footage of her sitting on the ground still covered in paint has been broadcast across the country and the wider world


The South American nation has been rocked by increasingly violent protests recently following last month's presidential election.

The election campaign was marred by protests and slammed for a lack of transparency, although incumbent leader Evo Morales was ultimately returned to power.

Since then, there have been widespread clashes between pro and anti-government protesters, with several deaths so far.

On Wednesday, one protest left a 20-year-old student dead, bringing the overall death toll to three dead since the October 20 election.

Those against Mr Morales - the country's first indigenous leader - believe the election was rigged.

Mr Morales is from the Movement for Socialism (MAS) political party, the same party Ms Arce belongs to.


Meanwhile, newly re-elected President Evo Morales condemned the attack on Ms Arce.

In a tweet posted yesterday, he said the leader had been "cruelly abducted for expressing and defending her ideals and the principles of the poorest".

Mr Morales' party demanded authorities catch the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Ms Arce's office told local media the mayor "is recovering" from her ordeal.

"For these people, being a woman is a crime, being humble is a crime, having a skirt is a crime, said Vice President Alvaro Garcia.

"This has never happened in our democracy. That is called fascism: attacking women, assaulting them for their ethnic status. What Bolivia is facing is a fascist wave."

The Women's Social Organisations, linked to the ruling party, expressed "outrage" at the attack, and "for all the insults of hatred, racism, discrimination and violence" of the Opposition.


- With wires

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