LA PAZ – Dozens of military men and ex-soldiers marched on Friday in different regions of Bolivia against the criminal prosecution of a general who is being probed by the government for civilian deaths during the 2019 social crisis.
The demonstrations by retired military personnel and those in the process of retirement, who carried Bolivian flags and white shirts, were held in the capital La Paz, Santa Cruz, the largest in the country, and Tarija.
The marchers, in a statement, rejected the house arrest of the military general, who in 2019 served as the departmental commander of the Cochabamba region of the Army’s Strategic Operations Command.
The officer faces investigation for the death of 10 civilians by gunfire in a military and police operation a year ago in Sacaba.
The statement said they “categorically reject the criminal prosecution” of the officer because it would lower down the morale of soldiers by humiliating them, said Jorge Santiesteban in Santa Cruz.
Former General Gary Prado said the “institutions must be respected and that military justice must be applied” in the case.
“This is the first step that the new government is taking. What it wants to do is intimidate all Bolivians so that no one dares to protest,” said Prado, who is remembered for capturing the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” in 1967 in Bolivia Guevara.
He was tried in the government of Evo Morales in an alleged terror case that was closed this year with his acquittal.
In the same way, in La Paz, the demonstrators up to the Ministry of Defense, demanding that the government should stop persecuting comrades.
On Thursday, a judge in Sacaba ordered home detention of the general, without a right to work. The court ordered him to deposit $36,000 as bail amount.
After the verdict, families of the victims, who held vigils outside the court, protested against the court order, triggering clashes with relatives of military personnel.
A military operation on Nov. 15, 2019, in Sacaba, left 10 people dead, who were part of a demonstration against the government of the then transitional president of Bolivia Jeanine Añez.