Prostitutes in the Bolivian city of El Alto sewed their lips together today as part of a hunger strike to demand that the mayor reopen brothels and bars ordered closed after violent protests by residents last week.
"We are fighting for the right to work and for our families' survival," Lily Cortez, leader of the El Alto Association of Nighttime Workers, told local television.
"Tomorrow we will bury ourselves alive if we are not immediately heard. The mayor will have his conscience to answer to if there are any grave consequences, such as the death of my comrades," she said, surrounded by about 10 prostitutes who had sewn their lips together with thread.
Some 30 other women were shown fasting inside a medical clinic nearby.
Mayor Fanor Nava told local radio he would not reopen the brothels and bars closed after city residents fed up with underage drinking and crime stormed the red-light district in El Alto, an impoverished city just north of La Paz.