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Bolivia sacks military protest marchers

Bolivia sacked 702 members of the military today after a march by non-commissioned officers against alleged discrimination against indigenous soldiers.

Armed forces commander General Victor Baldivieso likened the protest to sedition aimed at staging a coup.

The military acted after about 2,000 sergeants turned out to protest in uniform, singing marching songs as they paraded through La Paz.

The strikers’ grievances include the treatment of Aymara and Quechua NCOs.

Among their demands were changes in rules that block NCOs from promotion beyond sergeant or entry to training institutes.

“We are not against the government,” said Johnny Gil, head of an NCO association.

“We are against this capitalistic, neoliberal, colonial model in the military.”

The association said the military should respect the new constitution promulgated by President Evo Morales, himself an Aymara, which guarantees racial and gender equality.

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