Student politics in Bolivian university turn deadly, 4 dead and 70 injured
- A stampede at Autonomous University Tomas Frias, Bolivia, has left four dead and 70 injured
- A tear gas was detonated during a heated student election debate
- Bolivia has earlier seen violence in student meetings with tear gas being used
A stampede at Autonomous University Tomas Frias, Bolivia, has left four dead and 70 injured, after a tear gas grenade was detonated while an assembly was ongoing, the police and the institution said as per Agence France-Presse.
Roxana Choque, a public prosecutor in the Potosi region, said that five of the injured people were in intensive care. The university rector, Pedro Lopez, noted that thousands of students had gathered for the elections in the university's enclosed sports arena.
The regional police chief, Bernardo Isnado shared insight that there was a heated debate and one student, at least, detonated a tear gas canister which triggered the stampede.
While Lopez noted how the university is mourning, two individuals have already been arrested for the incident, according to police official Nelson Pacheco. Among them is the student leader who convened the assembly and the other is suspected of having detonated the tear gas grenade.
As per Choque, many of the wounded have multiple injuries which include broken bones. Some died of asphyxiation. AFP reported that the public hospital was overrun with wounded people as relatives sought information about missing students.
The government announced that they'd be investigating the events.
Bolivia is no stranger to student politics getting out of hand. There have been fights between students before with tear gas being deployed in previous instances as well.
In March 2021, Bolivia's El Alto University saw 12 students die when a railing collapsed during an assembly confrontation, causing them to fall from the fourth floor.
The video showed students pushing and shoving as the railing gave way. Many clutched onto others to stop their fall though some plummeted to the concrete floor below.