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Monday, 10 June 2013

La Paz, Bolivia - Food and Travel Magazine - May 2013.

I'm filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, setting off on a recent assignment to La Paz, Bolivia for Food and Travel Magazine. Partly because Iv always wanted to visit Bolivia and partly because the Foreign Office web site advised caution due to "express kidnappings... and slight risk of terrorism..." I'm soon to learn that the warning is over-stated. However just before leaving, Bibiana, my Bolivian trip organiser here in London says they may have to change the itinerary at short notice due to "...Strikes and Political unrest...",  this is to prove much more of a problem. 

These effigy's (A Warning to thieves) - are the first things that greet you as you leave the airport in El Alto, to make the 1000 meter descent to Downtown La Paz, Bolivia.

Of course, Latin America in general is known to be a little edgy, shall we say but Bolivia at times can resemble Britain in the early 70's, prone to; strikes, three day weeks, power cuts and general disruption due to running battles between the politically active unions and the current Socialist government which is seeking an unprecedented third term in power. Of course being South America it doesn't try and hide it's intentions, these guy's mean business! 

Police barricades block the entrance to Plaza Murillo - The main tourist area of La Paz.

People crowd the news stands to see what is happening re the Teachers Union march in La Paz - Tuesday 21 May 2013.
Teachers march in La Paz, Bolivia.

Here are some images of the police and army blockades to Plaza Murillo, La Paz, on Tuesday 21 May 2013, during a march by the teachers union. I took these shots just before and after crossing the police barricades blocking entry to the main square. 

Although the march went ahead without any real trouble, the relative quiet in the main square and surrounding streets, the heavy duty police and military presence and the occasional sound of gunshots ringing out across the city certainly made my walking tour of the city a slightly surreal experience!

Police barricades block the entrance to Plaza Murillo

Once inside the barricades things are a little more relaxed

The Bolivian military take it easy and leave the barricades to the police.

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