Bolivian inmates go on hunger strike

  • 20/08/2015
(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

Inmates at one of Bolivia's most violent prisons have gone on hunger strike demanding they be fed at least as well as police dogs and horses.

Around 500 inmates on Wednesday (local time) joined the two-day-old hunger strike, according to the organisers at the Palmasola maximum security prison, which drew global attention when Pope Francis visited it in July.

The inmates are calling for an increase in the prison food budget, currently eight bolivianos (NZ$1.76) per prisoner per day.

"The horses at the military academy have a daily food allocation of 15 bolivianos, and it's about to go up to 20. Some police dogs have 15 bolivianos a day for their food," strike leader Fidel Herrera told TV network Gigavision.

The prisoners want a daily meal budget of 25 bolivianos.

Interior Minister Carlos Romero said such a budget would "turn prison into a prize for criminals".

The meal budget per prisoner, formerly 6.6 bolivianos a day, was already increased by 21 percent following the pope's visit.

The Palmasola prison, nearly 50-years-old, was built to hold 600 prisoners but is now overflowing with nearly 5000 men and women.