Mayor Arrested Over Lockdown Festival Before Spike

This mayor has been arrested after allowing a local festival to go ahead which a man who later died from COVID-19 attended and the city then saw a spike in cases.

The festival which honours Saint Joseph took place between 12th – 16th March in the city of Patacamaya located in the department La Paz Department in western Bolivia near the nation’s capital with Mayor Tiburcio Choque’s blessing.

The festival was celebrated with no restriction despite the mayor receiving a letter from authorities on 12th March telling him to cancel the event.

Credit: Newsflash
Bolivian mayor arrested for organizing a festival party in the middle of coronavirus crisis

Local media report several people attended the festival which included some travelling from the neighbouring countries of Peru and Chile.

A reported 600 or more people attended the festival along with musical guests despite Bolivia having already implemented a lockdown country to avoid further spreading COVID-19.

Mayor Choque was arrested reportedly on Tuesday 7th April and festival organisers Fredy Perez Callisaya and Adela Apaza Gutierrez were also arrested for posing a serious risk to public health.

An elderly man who went to the festival reportedly died just days after. His cause of death was confirmed to be COVID-19 as cases of the virus now continue to rise in the city. The man’s named has not been reported.

Credit: Newsflash
Bolivian mayor arrested for organizing a festival party in the middle of coronavirus crisis

Event organisers Perez Callisaya and Apaza Gutierrez were reportedly sentenced to three years in prison, with the sentence suspended but they will remain under supervision by a court.

Choque has not been sentenced and is due to have a hearing but will spend three months in preventative custody, according to reports.

It is unclear when the hearing is set to take place.

District Attorney Mario Antonio Cossio told local media: “The Public Ministry gave the corresponding orders of their apprehension which were executed this Tuesday to start the investigation of the events.”

According to the latest figures by Johns Hopkins University, there have been 246 cases of COVID-19 in Bolivia leading to 18 deaths.

Credit: Newsflash
Bolivian mayor arrested for organizing a festival party in the middle of coronavirus crisis

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency:  Newsflash

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