Bolivian mayor beaten, dragged through streets

A Bolivian mayor was dragged through the streets, covered in red paint and had her hair cut by an angry mob Wednesday, as weeks of violent political unrest continued to plague the South American nation.

Patricia Arce, mayor of Vinto, a city of 60,000 in central Bolivia, was hauled out of the local government building and pummeled by masked people carrying sticks and hurling stones, the news network Telemundo reported Thursday.

The crowd accused Arce of busing in supporters of incumbent President Evo Morales to break up an anti-government demonstration, during which two protesters were rumored to have been killed, according to the BBC.

Shouting, “murderer, murderer,” the mob pushed the mud-covered pol to the ground and forcibly cut her hair before she was rescued by police and taken to a local hospital, the network said.

“If they want to kill me, let them kill me,” a defiant Arce, a member of the ruling Movement to Socialism party, told reporters after the attack. “I’m not afraid. I’m in a free country.”

The attack was the latest skirmish in the wake of controversial elections last month.

Morales, a member of the MAS party who has been in power since 2006, declared victory after the Oct. 20 vote. But rival Carlos Mesa called the election “a monumental fraud” and claimed it was rigged, Time magazine reported.

Mesa supporters have since taken to the streets and clashed with police.

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