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Protestors destroy radio station's broadcasting equipment in anger over coverage of municipal dispute

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 27 March 2008, residents of Pucarani, near La Paz, set fire to the municipal radio station's equipment and felled its broadcasting aerial, after bursting violently into the institution's headquarters and hauling the equipment out to the town's main square.

According to the leaders of the action, members of the local "monitoring committees" (comité de vigilancia), the station had been used by Mayor Alejandro Mamani to defame them. Monitoring committees are legally-recognised bodies that monitor municipal governments and issue reports on their conduct. Members of the committee are selected by grassroots organisations such as neighbourhood associations and sports clubs.

The police arrived to the scene in time to avert a confrontation between the protestors and supporters of the mayor.

According to the station's employees, its transmitter was damaged to such an extent that the station has been forced off-air until it can be repaired.

The conflict behind the protest action against the station began in early 2008, when the committee accused the mayor of corruption.

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