Bolivian miners on Thursday during a clash with the police in the town of Panduro hacked the Deputy Interior Minister to death.

Interior Minister, Carlos Romero, confirmed on Friday that reports by witnesses indicated that the 55-year-old was beaten to death following clashes between police and miners in the town of Panduro, 165 kilometres south-east of La Paz.

Romero said Illanes had been kidnapped by miners after attempting to initiate talks with them at a roadblock.

The minister, who spoke of a “cowardly and brutal” murder, added that his aide was also injured and was taken to hospital.

He said that one miner was reportedly also killed in the Thursday’s clashes, bringing the death toll in several days of protests against controversial trade union legislation to three.

“Two miners were killed on Wednesday.

“Around 100 miners were detained after Thursday’s protests,’’ he said.

Miners currently represented by independently organized cooperatives have been using street blockades to protest against a law allowing them to join trade unions.

The national federation of mining cooperatives (Fencomin) representing some 10,000 miners rejects any trade union influence on Bolivia’s mining sector.

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