INTRODUCTION: A hunger strike protest by 14 women and two trade union leaders, which began on Monday (23 November) in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, has shown signs of being durable.
CU PULL BACK TO GV United Nations building in La Paz
SV INTERIOR Hunger strikers--women and two labour leaders--sit in room talking (3 shots)
SV Journalists and photographers watching
SV Hunger strikers' belongings on shelves PAN TO spokesman speaking in Spanish
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A hunger strike protest by 14 women and two trade union leaders, which began on Monday (23 November) in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, has shown signs of being durable. The following day, the women, miners' wives, and labour leaders repeated their vow to continue the protest until mine workers were released from jail and trade union freedoms restored by the government.
SYNOPSIS: The hunger strikers were in the offices of the Roman Catholic archdiocese and the United Nations refugee organisation. The women are the wives of miners and union leaders from Huanuni, 310 kilometres from La Paz, where workers went on strike when the government refused to recognise their union. Journalists crowded into the small offices to talk with the protesters. Hundreds on striking miners were imprisoned after disturbances in several Bolivian centres.
The strike at Huanuni, the country's only profitable tin mine, began when workers demanded the reinstatement of trade union rights. They want the military government of President Celso Torrelio to restore suspended union rights, to grant wage increase and to allow miners' radio stations to resume broadcasting. These demands have been backed by human rights organisations which have criticised the military government's actions since it took power in a coup in July last year. The hunger strikers in La Paz, adamant their protest would continue, say that expect many more women to join them.