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Spike in femicides raises alert in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Grief-struck family members followed Mery Vila’s coffin outside the “Stairway to Heaven” funeral home in the Bolivian capital and angrily shouted: “Justice!” over and over again.

Her mother, Luisa Ticona, said Vila’s partner killed the 26-year-old woman by striking her several times on the head with a hammer. Police said the partner has been detained.

The death of Vila this week is one of 73 femicides reported in Bolivia since January, the highest toll in six years for the same period.

The alarming number in a country that already had South America’s highest rate of femicides prompted Bolivia’s Women’s Affairs Commission to convene an emergency meeting Friday to demand officials allocate more resources for the fight against gender-based violence.

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