Dozens of people with disabilities — many in wheelchairs or on crutches — fought with riot police Thursday in the Bolivian capital of La Paz at the end of a 100-day march for increased government aid money.
Police stood blocking the government palace as protesters tried to shove through in a violent face-off that lasted almost two hours, the BBC reported.
A video on the UK’s The Guardian website (and the video below by Al Jazeera English) show protesters bashing riot officers with crutches and sticks, and shield-bearing police struggling to hold the line.
Police used pepper spray against the protesters, according to news reports. Several protesters were injured and four arrested.
As many as 50 protesters participated in the 1,000-mile, 100-day “Caravana por la Integracion” (caravan for integration) protest. The protesters complained that their annual $143 welfare check was not enough and demanded President Evo Morales triple that amount.
A 2004 report by the World Bank in 2004 estimated there are at least 50 million people with disabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), approximately 10 percent of the region’s population.
“Disability is an important cause and consequence of poverty. About 82 percent of disabled people in LAC live in poverty," the report said.
Another study cited by the bank says as many as one in five of the poor living in developing countries is a person with disabilities.