SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic – Protests in several towns of the northwestern Dominican Republic intensified Wednesday following the death of an 85-year-old woman, who apparently was killed when police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
Police arrested six people amid the protests – launched to press demands for better public services – in towns of Santiago province.
Protests also erupted in towns of the neighboring province of Valverde, while roadblocks were set up on the highway that links Santiago with areas to the northwest and the border with Haiti.
Ana Luisa Gil, 85, died Tuesday of respiratory failure apparently caused by a tear gas fired by police amid the protests organized by the Broad Front for the Popular Struggle, or FALPO, in Tamboril, a municipality of Santiago province.
But the regional police spokesman, Col. Jesus Cordero Paredes, denied that his officers used tear gas to quell the protests in Tamboril and said the cops are not to blame for the woman’s death.
FALPO head Victor Breton, for his part, said his group is considering organizing a general strike in the coming days to demand that authorities repair roads and improve water and electricity service.
Breton said the government invests “substantial resources” in infrastructure in Santo Domingo but neglects the country’s other provinces. EFE