Feb 28 - Disabled demonstrators and their relatives protest over government plans to cut their benefits. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE IN FIRST SOUNDBITE Disabled protesters fighting plans to cut their benefits stage what they called a mock crucifixion outside the Bolivian parliament to press home their message. Some say they're prepared to go the whole way if necessary to get the president's attention. SOUNDBITE: Sandro Arnez, protester, saying (Spanish): "On Wednesday I'm going to crucify myself with real nails. This is the message I'm sending to my damned insensitive godfather Evo Morales." About 1, 000 people with disabilities and members of their families made their way from different areas to gather in the capital, La Paz. They've been angered by changes to a bill that diverts six million dollars a year in payments to the disabled. They say the bill's been modified in a way that could stop some of the cash reaching the beneficiaries. Julia Corrillo whose son is disabled says the lawmakers don't care about them. SOUNDBITE: Julia Corrillo, mother of disabled son, saying (Spanish): "Seeing as we don't matter to them we'd prefer to die here, my son and I together. It would be on the government's hands then, whatever happens to the two of us." Disabled people in Bolivia currently get the equivalent of 40 U.S. cents a day. The protesters want that raised to 1.8 dollars. Some members of the country's ruling political party say the opposition is behind the protests to make leftist president Evo Morales look bad. Paul Chapman, Reuters