LA PAZ, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian Defense Minister Maria Cecilia Chacon resigned Monday after publicly condemning the use of police force against indigenous protesters in the Amazon region.
"I am making this decision because I don't agree with the government on using intervention. I can't justify it as long as there are alternative means which consider dialogue," Chacon said in her letter of resignation. She cited the importance of respect for human rights and the environment as well as nonviolence.
On Sunday, Bolivian police dispersed demonstrators from the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory in an attempt to end a 42-day protest. The indigenous people were protesting against the construction of a highway which would pass through their territory.
A 300-strong police contingent forcefully removed a large number of demonstrators who were blocking the highway.
Chacon also called on Bolivian President Evo Morales to show leadership rather than violence.
However, Bolivian Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti police intervention, saying it was aimed at avoiding confrontations with the indigenous people of Yucumo in the nearby Santa Cruz province who opposed the protest of the indigenous people in Isiboro.
Llorenti encouraged the press and opposition leaders to present evidence of any police abuse against demonstrators and vowed to punish wrongdoers if there are any.