armed “big guns” attack protesters

Kevin Luna, 25, lives in La Paz. Together with other young people, he took part in a hunger strike in Abaroa Square, in front of the Supreme Court, between 3 and 10 August, to protest against the postponement of the election.

On August 8, at about 7 o’clock, about 50 people arrived at the scene. I think some belonged to the group “Resistencia Km 0”, but also to “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”, due to their accent and some motorcycles. This did not surprise us, because a audio of “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” had circulated the day before on WhatsApp, containing threats. They accused us of being connected to MAS, of not letting trucks with oxygen pass on the roads. [début août, des manifestants ont empêché le passage d’un camion transportant de l’oxygène, sur la route Cochabamba-Oruro, NDLR], and they said we had ten minutes to leave the area, otherwise they would use force. We then refused.

In this video, shots on Abaroa Square, a man said: “You are part of MAS, […] so the instructions are as follows: you have ten minutes to leave, otherwise we will send you away. “

Then they started yelling at us, throwing rocks and firecrackers. We tried to protect the tents where we had slept for several days with cardboard, and we also used firecrackers to demand reinforcements. Then the police arrived to prevent them from getting too close to us. But she also said that we would leave, so that the problems would stop. The tensions lasted for two hours, then men from the “Resistencia” groups left, because there were more of us.

In this video, shots on Abaroa Square, a man condemns the “attack” of a group of people who have thrown stones in their direction (0’08). We also hear explosions and see lights in the sky, as well as the protesters’ tents. Related videos here, here and the.

In this video, shots at the corner of Abaroa Square, where people shout: “Resistance, resistance!” They then fire firecrackers above the police on the street to prevent them from passing.

On August 9, pictures were also released showing members of the “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” group in Cochabamba. They should have moved on unlocking in a way, in a muscular way.

In this video taken at the end of Cochabamba on August 9, we see an injured person on the ground, as well as the group “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”.

What do we know about the group “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”?

Our editorial staff was mainly interested in the group “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”, as he seems to be the most active at the moment.

This group consists mainly of young people from 20 to 30 years and seems to have appeared after the questioned re-election of Evo Morales in October 2019, in order to relinquish him from power, as well as the group “Resistencia Km 0”. From our editorial office, a resident of Cochabamba believes that he still has similarities with “Juventud Cochala”, a group that had made itself known in 2008 in his city, before he disappeared.

The “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” opposes the current protest movement and, in general, against any pro-MAS mobilization, officially to “defend democracy”. In a video published on August 9 (see below), its leader, Yasir Molina, invites all Bolivians to “go out to block their territories.” Sure Facebook“Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” describes itself as a “rapid reaction group to defend its city”.

In this video released on August 9, Yasir Molina calls “terrorists” and “criminals” those who block the roads.

“Paramilitary” actors, according to the Ombudsman

Members use threats and violence, as explained by our observer Kevin Luna. On 9 August, the Ombudsman’s Office issued a communicated about this group and other similar formations – especially with reference to the events of 8 and 9 August – where he indicates that these “violent acts have been taking place in a constant and repeated manner since the beginning of the year”. The press release mentions “groups integrated by private actors of an umbrella and paramilitary nature who, in order to defend political positions, have illegally arrogated for themselves the privileges specific to the Bolivian police”.

Many photos thus show members of the “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” on motorcycles with bulletproof vests, artisan bazookas or even sticks, some of which are published by the group itself. Some of its members have also been seen with real weapons, such as pistols.

Video published on the Facebook page “RJC Resistencia Juvenil Cochala Oficial”.

Photos of the group “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”.

In early February, a Bolivian journalist, Adair Pinto, was even stabbed by a member of the “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”, after being threatened and insulted. He has since left the country while his attackers have been arrested. Other journalists had been frightened before him.One group was tolerated, even with the support of the authorities

Violent, however, this group is widely tolerated, even supported by the current transitional authorities and the police, even if it denies any partner affiliation. In his communicated on 9 August, the Office of the Defendants of the People thus condemns the “state permit” for its actions.

In this video, suspicious members of the “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” and “Unión Juvenil Cruceñista” groups climb into the back of a police car.

A few months ago, the acting president himself published one BEEP thank “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” and a picture of her had circulated and showed her holding a piece of cloth with the band’s logo on it. In addition, at the end of 2019, ceremony Rewarding, in particular, members of the “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” were organized in Cochabamba in the presence of a Minister, Arturo Murillo. Another example: in January Milton Navarro, Minister of Sports until 4 June, declared that they were “brave” and that they must be “grateful” for them.

“These groups have some impunity,” he said Fernando López Ariñez, Bolivian political scientist based in Chile, interviewed by our editorial staff. “In addition, there is no condemnation from the mainstream media, which in some cases even legitimizes their actions, describing them as mere groups of civilians.”

Our editors contacted “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala” on Facebook, but received no response.

In response to his actions, groups near MAS, also armed, have formed in recent weeks, raising fears of an escalation of violence.

Group opposed “Resistencia Juvenil Cochala”.

Article written by Chloe Lauvergnier.