Bolivian miners clash with police at mining law protest

Bolivian police clashed with groups of independent miners in Cochabamba in central Bolivia on Monday during a protest against a new mining law.

Police were forced to take cover as the angry miners hurled sticks of dynamite at them from the surrounding hills and blocked roads. The cooperative miners are angry over a new law passed at the weekend, which prohibits independent miners from working with their private counterparts to mine the country's natural resources. It also states that any contracts to mine sites must first be approved by the legislature.

The 100-thousand independent miners in Bolivia are traditionally political allies of President Evo Morales and are exempt from some taxes. This preferential treatment has upset miners from the private sector.