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Agencies
November 14, 2019

Clashes in Bolivia after opposition leader assumes presidency

World

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Agencies
November 14, 2019

LA PAZ: Clashes broke out in the streets of the Bolivian capital after an opposition leader in the Senate declared herself the country’s interim president following the resignation of Evo Morales.

Jeanine Anez assumed temporary control of the Senate late on Tuesday, putting her next in line for the presidency. Politicians of Morales’s Movement for Socialism party were not present when she made the announcement. Angry supporters of Morales tried to reach the Congress building screaming, “She must quit!” Police and soldiers fired tear gas trying to disperse the crowd.

Morales, who sought to transform Bolivia as its first indigenous president, flew to exile in Mexico on Tuesday as thousands of his supporters clamoured for his return in the streets of the Bolivian capital. Military fighter jets flew repeatedly over La Paz in a show of force that infuriated Morales loyalists who were blocked by security forces from marching to the main square.

“We’re not afraid!” shouted demonstrators, who believe the ouster of Morales following massive protests was a coup as well as an act of discrimination against Bolivia’s indigenous communities. Despite their anger, the demonstrators were peaceful. The march followed weeks of clashes and protests against Morales, who was accused by his many detractors of becoming increasingly authoritarian and rigging an election. His resignation on Sunday led to a power vacuum in the Andean nation.

Morales was met at Mexico City’s airport by Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard after a flight from Bolivia on a Mexican government plane and repeated his allegations he had been forced to resign by a coup.

Urged to resign by the military, Morales had stepped down following widespread outrage fed by allegations of electoral fraud in the October 20 presidential election that he claimed to have won.

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