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Bolivia president lifts martial law in northern province on last day set by court

[JURIST] Bolivian President Evo Morales [official website, in Spanish; JURIST news archive] on Sunday lifted martial law over the the country's northern province of Pando [government website, in Spanish], more than two months after the sanction was imposed following violent regional protests against the country's proposed new constitution [PDF text; JURIST report]. Under the proposed charter, more of Bolivia's land and energy resource income would go to the country's indigenous population, but Pando is one of nine provinces that has objected to the changes, instead voting for increased regional autonomy [JURIST reports] from the central government. Earlier this month, the Bolivian National Electoral Court [official website] warned that Bolivian law requires that there be no restrictions on civil liberties during campaigning for a national vote, and set Sunday as the last day [ABI report] to lift martial law in the region in order for a national referendum on the proposed constitution to be held as scheduled on January 25.

In September, the governor of Pando was arrested on genocide charges [JURIST report] for the deaths of Morales supporters that resulted from the protests in the region. Local reports indicate there is still a strong military presence [Los Tiempos report, in Spanish] in the province.

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