Supporters of resigned President Morales clash with police in Bolivia
Supporters of the recently resigned Bolivian president Evo Morales collided with the police on Thursday, after opposition member Jeanine Añez declared himself as interim president on Wednesday.
In the Bolivian city of La Paz, supporters of the retired president threw stones and lit fires, to which the police responded by shooting tear gas at the crowds.
Morales resigned on Sunday after weeks of protests against him. He is accused of fraud after claiming the election victory in October while the ballot boxes were closed early. Morales was in power in Bolivia for fourteen years.
The retired president fled to Mexico, where he was granted political asylum. He speaks of a coup against him and the ‘appointment’ of Añez would confirm that.
Supporter of Morales call Añez’s move illegal because her presidency has not been formally adopted by the senate. Añez himself says he wants to launch new elections as soon as possible. Morales said on Wednesday that he is willing to return if the people ask, saying they “reassure Bolivia.”
The Bolivian senate met on Wednesday to vote for a new interim president. There were not enough senators present to do this, because members of the Morales party boycott the vote. Despite this, opposition member Añez proclaimed himself interim president.
After the resignation of Morales and his vice-president, according to the constitution, Añez would be the next in line to assume the presidency, the senator says. She argues for a democratic transition that abandons Morales’ totalitarian rule.
The resigned president arrived on Tuesday evening in Mexico. Earlier that day a Mexican plane picked him up. The aircraft then stranded in Paraguay, because several Latin American countries had refused access to their airspace. The Mexican government allegedly informed American counterparts about the decision to offer Morales asylum. The United States indicates that it has offered to support Morales’ journey.
In response to the upheaval after the resignation of Morales, the US called on relatives of people working for the US to leave Bolivia. In addition, American citizens are discouraged from traveling to the country.