[QODLink]
Americas
Bolivia announces deal with striking police
Interior minister says officers to end their mutiny in key cities after accepting offer of new salary terms.
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2012 16:08
Rioting police officers have occupied police barracks and marched in protest against low wages [Reuters]

Bolivia's government has signed a deal on new salary terms with striking police, according to Carlos Romero, the interior minister.

The officers had agreed to end their mutiny in important cities, Romero announced on Sunday.

"Our dialogue with the police has ended and we were able to reach sound agreements in order to overcome this police crisis that has taken place in recent days," he said.

Police Sergeant Edgar Ramos, a union representative, said: "I want to say to our colleagues that we must restore [law enforcement] services, with the commitment that we must provide quality service and professionalism."

The deal responded to strikers' demand for a raise by offering a bonus of roughly $32. They had asked that the base pay level for police be raised to 2,000 bolivianos ($287) from a current average of $195 a month.

The agreement also calls for the creation of a police ombudsman's office as well as committees to study both a revision of a law that bans police from publicly expressing their opinions, and better retirement conditions.

The deal came after Bolivia's military ordered troops into the streets of several major cities on Saturday in response to the police mutiny, which Amanda Davila, communications minister, said resembled a "coup scenario."

"What gets our attention is that the police are putting weapons in police units where there were none before, they are pressuring other units to turn over their weapons," Davila said in an interview with the private Erbol radio.

Ruben Saavedra, defence minister, announced that the military was sending more troops into the streets to protect private property and ensure public order.

But police sergeant Javier Quispe, a spokesman for the strikers, had quickly denied any plans for a coup, calling it a "total lie."

"We want to tell the public it's not like that. This is a just demand for a fair salary," he said.

The mutiny began on Thursday when protesters took over the headquarters of Bolivia's riot police and eight other police stations. It then spread to more than two dozen police stations and command centre across the country.

A crowd of about 300 striking police, dressed in civilian clothes and covering their faces, attacked the National Intelligence Directorate on Friday, smashing windows and pulling out furniture, documents and computers, and even setting flags ablaze.

Roughly 300 protesters later hurled rocks and smashed windows at national police headquarters. Police on duty outside the building offered no resistance.

406

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Polio remains endemic in Pakistan as health workers battle anti-vaccine prejudice and threat to life by armed groups.
Despite 14-year struggle for a new mosque in the second-largest city, new roadblocks are erected at every turn.
Authorities and demonstrators have shown no inclination to yield despite growing economic damage and protest pressure.
Lebanese-born Rula Ghani may take cues from the modernising Queen Soraya, but she'll have to proceed with caution.
One of the world's last hunter-gatherer tribes has been forced from the forest it called home by a major dam project.