Bolivian mayor beaten, dragged through streets

Vinto Mayor Patricia Arce reacts while being dragged to a bridge in Vinto Bolivia

Vinto Mayor Patricia Arce reacts while being dragged to a bridge in Vinto Bolivia

Protesters dragged the mayor of the Bolivian town of Vinto barefoot in the streets and forcefully cut her hair after accusing her of calling in President Evo Morales' supporters to break up their demonstration.

Police rescue Vinto mayor Patricia Arce Guzman on a motorcycle after people threw paint and dirt on her following a fire in Vinto's Town Hall, Quillacollo, Bolivia, November 6, 2019.

The mayor of a small town in Bolivia has become the latest victim of violence in the country that has seen violent street clashes intensifying over the country's disputed election almost three weeks ago. There she was forced to kneel down for her hair to be cut and her body sprayed red.

Police and firefighters had to step in to save Mayor Patricia Arce from the angry mob in Vinto, a town of approximately 52,000 in central Bolivia.

It was alleged that the two protesters had been killed during clashes with President Morales' supporters.

In total, three people have died in the clashes.

She was then forced to hold a metal pole as she was paraded, barefoot, around the streets with red paint covering her face, hair and clothes.

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"All my solidarity with our sister, mayor of Vinto, Patricia Arce, who was cruelly harassed for expressing and defending her ideals and the principles of the poorest", he tweeted in Spanish. Protesters, however, managed to set her office on fire and smashed the town hall's windows.

The clashes in Bolivia have continued to escalate this week, with police firing tear gas to push back stone-throwing demonstrators during clashes late Tuesday and early Wednesday as they attempted to march on the presidential palace. Doctors said Mr Guzmán Vasquez had a fractured skull which may have been caused by an explosive device.

Tension has been running high since election night when the results count was inexplicably paused for 24 hours.

Morales, a member of the MAS party who has been in power since 2006, declared victory after the October 20 vote. The figures showed Morales just 0.7% short of the 10-percentage point advantage needed to avoid a runoff.

In a press conference on Thursday, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera called on opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Luis Fernando Camacho to help stop the violence and heed an ongoing audit of the vote by the Organization of American States (OAS).

Mr Morales has accused Mr Mesa of staging a coup d'etat and supporters of each side have squared off in La Paz and other cities.

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