Thousands of protesters took to the streets of several cities across Bolivia on Monday to demand justice after a university student was killed during a demonstration last week. Some of the protesters clashed with police in the central city of Cochabamba. Authorities did not immediately report injuries or arrests.
College student Jonathan Quispe was killed last Thursday during a protest demanding an increase in the budget for the public university of El Alto, the municipality that is adjacent to the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
The government has said that Quispe's death was caused by a marble shot from a large firecracker by demonstrators. But university authorities reject that version and say he was killed by police.
In an attempt to resolve the conflict, Economy Minister Mario Guillen has called for talks with authorities in Bolivia's 15 public universities, where an estimated 440,000 students study.
The protests come at a difficult time for President Evo Morales, who has been president for 13 years. He presided over an economic boom fueled by high prices for Bolivia's minerals and natural gas, but his popularity has fallen recently amid corruption scandals, a deteriorating economy and his efforts to run again despite losing a referendum on allowing him to seek a fourth term.