A Bolivian politician has been abducted and beaten to death by striking mineworkers.
Deputy Interior Minister Rodolfo Illanes had gone to mediate with protesters in a bitter dispute over mining laws.
Bolivia’s defence minister broke down on television as he described how his colleague had apparently been “beaten and tortured to death.”
The vast majority of miners in Bolivia work in cooperatives and scrape a living producing silver, tin and zinc.
Protesters have been demanding greater union representation and the right to work for private companies.
The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia (FENCOMIN), once strong allies of leftist President Evo Morales, began what they said would be an indefinite protest after negotiations over mining legislation failed.
Demonstrations turned violent this week after negotiations over mining legislation failed. At least two workers were killed after shots were fired by police. Several officers were injured during clashes.
The government was was trying to recover Illanes’s body.