Publicado: Sol, Noviembre 10, 2019
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Amid protests, Morales says 'coup' risks democracy in Bolivia

Amid protests, Morales says 'coup' risks democracy in Bolivia

"Our democracy is at risk due to the coup d'etat that violent groups have launched that undermine the constitutional order", he wrote, as he called on Bolivians to protect their democracy and constitution.

In the city of Cochabamba, the scene of recent violent clashes, Reuters witnesses saw police officers protesting on the roof of their headquarters carrying Bolivian flags in an apparent act of disobedience against the government.

The police rebellion erupted Friday among the elite tactical operations unit known as UTOP in the central city of Cochabamba.

Bolivian Minister of Defense Javier Zabaleta said a "police mutiny occurred in a few regions", but he rejected the idea of a military intervention "at this time".

Hundreds of opposition supporters crowded around police stations in La Paz and in the northeastern city of Trinidad to urge police there to reject Morales.

Late on Friday, Camacho said in a Twitter post police had joined protests in at least five cities: "Thank you for being with your people, God bless you!"

At a separate public event, Morales repeated that he is not resigning.

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There were also reports of police leaving the streets of La Paz and returning to their station buildings.

A former president himself, he asked Bolivia's congress on Friday to pass an emergency bill to prepare for new elections.

A 20-year-old student died in clashes on Wednesday between pro and anti-government demonstrators in Cochabamba, bringing the overall toll to three dead since the disputed October 20 election.

The police mutiny is the first sign that security forces are withdrawing support for Morales, who is South America's longest-running president, having taken office in 2006. His government issued a statement claiming that an opposition plot to oust the president was being led by Camacho and former President Carlos Mesa, who finished second in the October 20 election.

The Organization of American States is conducting an audit of the election count. The opposition, which has alleged vote-rigging, says it will not accept the results because they were not consulted about the audit plan.

Morales declared himself the outright victor even before official results indicated he obtained just enough support to avoid a runoff with former President Carlos Mesa. But a 24-hour lapse in releasing vote results fueled allegations of fraud by the opposition.

The statement came after Carlos Mesa, the opposition candidate who has disputed Morales' re-election, announced that he would urge the national legislature to call for a new presidential vote by 22 January 2020, when the incumbent leader's current term expires.

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