Bolivian church houses dead after protests

Bolivian church houses dead after protests A demonstrator is detained by riot police during a protest in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters

A church located on the outskirts of Bolivia’s capital city became an improvised morgue following another deadly day of protests in the South American country.

Fr Gechi Revelin of St Francis Parish in El Alto said protesters started to bring corpses into his small church last week following intense clashes between Bolivia’s military and supporters of former President Evo Morales at a nearby gasoline depot.

Protesters said they brought the corpses to the brick and mortar church in an effort to stop government officials and the military from getting ahold of the bodies and “hiding the truth” about what happened to those killed.

By early November 20, seven bodies had been brought to the church by protesters and were laid down on its pews, where they were covered with flags and blankets. The demonstrators then had Bolivian forensic scientists conduct autopsies on site.

“We don’t trust the government,” said Sandro Tenorio, an indigenous resident of El Alto whose 23-year-old brother was killed in the protest. Tenorio said his brother, Juan Jose, was shot dead as he tried to rescue people who were injured during the clashes.