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Clashes in Bolivia disabled protest

Do Not UseDo Not Use 26/05/2016
A disabled protester confronts police blocking him from reaching the National Palace, where President Evo Morales has his offices © AP A disabled protester confronts police blocking him from reaching the National Palace, where President Evo Morales has his offices

Police in Bolivia have clashed with disabled protesters who tried to approach the presidential palace to demand an increase in state benefits.

Police detain a disabled protester in La Paz: Disabled protesters have been preventing from getting close to Mr Morales's office © AP Disabled protesters have been preventing from getting close to Mr Morales's office

The Bolivian government said a group of protesters attacked police officers with knives and noxious gases.

Police pushed them back with high-pressure water cannons.

Disabled activists have been camping in central La Paz for a month, calling for a five-fold increase in disability benefits.

They are asking for 500 bolivianos a month ($73; £50), but the government of leftist President Evo Morales has rejected their demands.

It said it had reached a comprehensive deal other disability groups over the past weeks.

"We have now a small, intransigent group who refuses to accept the 42-point deal we have reached with disability groups," said the Interior Ministry statement.

"We believe this type of action is aimed at generating conflict, clashes and violence."

Many of the protesters involved in the clashes were wheelchair users. Passers-by and shop-owners were also affected, La Razon newspaper reported.

Bolivia is one of Latin America's poorest countries.

It has some 388,000 people with disability, according to official figures, AFP news agency reported.

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