Living in such a politically unstable country we have grown accustomed to the regular blockades and protests that take place around the coutry that cause interruptions to normal life. Whilst living in Sucre we were often aware of such events as the city was brought to a standstill for some reason or other. Living where we do now in La Paz we are not always aware of such happening other than the bangs from the large fire crackers that always accompany such events. However, last week we awoke to the sounds of the usual bangs only this time they were much closer, upon looking out of our lounge window we saw people gathering and blockading the main road that goes past our apatment block, as we looked further afield we saw all the other main routes down to the south zone also being blocked off by gatherings of people.
Alana was very upset with all the goings on as it meant the cancellation of a field trip with her kinder, she was however at least still able to attend kinder for the morning which is just a block up from where we live. Ed meanwhile worked from home. It was quite strane being home and listening to a different kind of sound other than the busy traffic that normally whizzes past. The protesters had also decided to use something that created a bang far lounder than the normal fire crackers which more than once made us jump as the windows rattled in response and all the car alarms went off.
Listening to the radio we discovered that the protests on this occasion were nationwide and were caused by teachers and health workers who were demanding a 15% pay increase as opposed to the proposed 10%. (For more info see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13099827).
When such events happen we never can be quite sure for how long they will go on for, anything from hours to weeks or if they will turn violent or not. Fortunately for us the protests remained peaceful and only lasted for the morning. At midday the protesters formed themselves into tidy lines and marched off up the road chanting along the way. In other parts of the country the story was quite different where clashes between protesters and police resulted in casualties.