English Version of the First Statement

Solidarity with the Women Arrested at the Women’s March in Cochabamba Bolivia

The Aquellare Subersiva is a gathering of autonomous and self managed feminist collectives. This year it was held in Cochabamba Bolivia, but has broader scope in latin america. This is the 3rd year that this gathering has been organized, with the objectives of articulating actions for our autonomy, respect for life, the right to choose, and to denounce the systemic violence of the patriarchy, state and capital. In Bolivia, at least 7 out of 10 women suffer at the hands of male chauvinist violence. 400 women die yearly from clandestine abortions, and a femicide occurs every 3 days.

In the context of the Aquelarre Subersiva, on July 7th 2017, at approximately 18:30 in the city of Cochabamba, diverse women and children from Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, Italy and the U.S.A. participated in a “March for Life, Body, Territory and Dignity”. We marched to denounce patriarchal violence and the femicides that threaten our lives in all our territories.

We want people to know that our protest has been violently repressed by the bolivian police, who by abusing their power arrested 4 of the participants (Argentinian, Chilean, Bolivian and Spanish). One of them was filming the arrest of the other participants who were being hit and insulted. The arrest happened at the moment when the march was in front of the Police Unit of Tactical Operations (UTOP), while we were denouncing the rape of women by the bolivian police. In 2016 there have been 426 complaints filed against the police for violence against women, the majority of which stand in impunity. Since 2014 we have been protesting the rape and violence against women committed by this institution, starting with the denouncement of a mentally handicapped woman that was serially raped by the UTOP.

Once detained, the women were brought to the holding cells of UTOP, where they were isolated and not allowed to communicate with anyone, including their lawyers. During the detention the police tried to frame them for crimes by putting paint on their hands and taking pictures of them with items that were not theirs. They were subjected to threats and psychological violence by 15 police. They were then transferred to a different unit of Special Crime Fighting Forces (FELCC). At this location, once again they denied them the right to a lawyer, accusing the lawyers of being accomplices in the crimes simply because they were women.

To secure their liberty the women were compelled to sign an agreement to pay for the alleged damages. The amount that they are quoting is excessive and disproportionate. Since the liberty of the participants and the guarantor are at risk, we ask all women´s organizations, public institutions, and civil society to help us fight against these violations of freedom of expression. We ask to sing this petition to pressure the authorities.

You can keep in touch regarding the case at our email aquelarresubversiva(at)riseup(dot)net. We need all the help we can get!

With love and rage, Aquelarre SubversivA

July 10th, 2017