UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Bolivia’s police dispersed with tear gas on Thursday a demonstration against the government in the capital of La Paz as parliament debated ways to get out of the serious crisis shaking the country.
Thousands of people carried the coffins of five people killed on Tuesday in clashes in the city of El Alto, which borders La Paz and is the stronghold of former President Evo Morales.
Police used tear gas in San Francisco Square in central La Paz, forcing two groups carrying coffins to put them on the ground for a short time after they were surrounded by clouds of gas.
Demonstrators chanted “Justice! Justice!”, Accusing the authorities of firing on pro-Morales demonstrators who took refuge in Mexico after being forced to resign. They had been protesting Tuesday against the repression and the government of Janine Agnès, acting president since November 12.
Eight men were shot dead in clashes on Tuesday with security forces near a fuel distribution plant in Cincata, El Alto. The clashes erupted as the army and police were evacuating the factory, which was occupied by demonstrators a week ago to demand the resignation of Agnès.
The death toll has risen to at least 32, including 17 in clashes with security forces.
The government denies any responsibility for the deaths.
“They tore us with bullets. It was bloody,” farmer Rufino Cuba, 42, who took part in Tuesday’s demonstration, told AFP.
“We demand justice and we don’t want this woman to be president,” said an indigenous woman with an eight-month-old baby on her back, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
About 20 people were arrested, AFP journalists said.
– “Deep resentment” –
Bolivia’s parliament on Thursday debated two bills aimed at organizing new presidential and legislative elections a month after the November 20 presidential vote.
One of the projects was presented by the transitional president and the other by Morales ‘Movement for Socialism’, which currently holds a majority in both houses of parliament.
Along with the cancellation of the presidential election, they should allow the creation of a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal charged with setting a date for the new ballot.
Sen. Agnès, 52, retains the possibility of a presidential decree calling for elections if the opposition and majority fail to come to terms.
In a video, Agnès deplored the toll of victims of violence and launched a new call for dialogue. “We are sorry that we are a government of peace and I ask that we unite so that we can achieve reconciliation,” she said.
She stressed that the transitional government is ready to “start dialogue immediately” with international support and the support of the Bolivian Church, but did not say who could be interlocutors of power.
In addition to appointing a new electoral court, parliamentarians are supposed to set the date for the election and decide on Morales’ participation.
The United States has suggested Morales should stay away from the election, which Washington wants “free, fair and transparent.”
Since moving to Mexico, Morales has claimed to be the victim of a “coup”.
The Foreign Ministry of the Bolivian transitional government announced its “deep dissatisfaction” with the Mexican government over the activities carried out by Morales on the territory of Mexico, saying it “violates” his status as a political refugee.
The unrest erupted in Bolivia after the opposition accused Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, of rigging the results of last month’s presidential election to rule for a new term. He resigned on November 10 under pressure from opposition demonstrations and after the army abandoned him.
Since his resignation, his supporters have been demonstrating daily on the streets of La Paz and other cities.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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