Bolivian officials, mutinous police continue talks

Police officers on strike march along the streets of La Paz, Bolivia, on June 25, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Bottom-rank police who mutinied six days ago are demanding better pay
  • Some government officials accuse the police of having a political agenda
  • The two sides met all night

Bolivian government officials held an all-night meeting with mutinous police officers in an effort to end a six-day mutiny that some say threatens the country's stability.

Bottom-rank police officers are demanding pay increases and retirement pensions equal to their current salaries, among other demands.

Talks were to resume Tuesday morning.

A deal had been reached on Sunday between the two parties that included a hefty raise, but the police officers rejected it, saying their leaders had not consulted them before signing.

While government representatives who are negotiating with the officers express hope that an agreement will be found, other Bolivian leaders are accusing the police of a conspiracy.

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"We are no longer facing a labor or salary issue, but something with a political conspiratorial character in the initial phase of coup preparations," Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linares said.

He accused the forces behind the police mutiny of wanting to push the country into a situation of violence, "but they won't have it; we won't allow it."

The vice president said that during the six years of President Evo Morales' leadership, police salaries have increased 42%.

"How are we going to carry out a coup if we have no such intentions," one of the police officers told CNN en Español. "We are simply asking for a fair salary, which is necessary."

At the start of the most recent talks, Interior Minister Carlos Romero said, "In any case, we have the hope to solve this conflict within the institutional framework and through a path of consensus and dialogue."

Meanwhile, as police are occupied with their own protests, a group of indigenous people who have been marching for two months to protest a planned highway through a national park will arrive in the capital, La Paz.

Members of Bolivia's armed forces have taken over many of the tasks performed by police.

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