In Bolivia violent clashes between anti-government protesters and supporters of President Evo Morales continue amid calls for him to step down.
CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.
Tensions are mounting in Bolivia as anti-government protesters and Morales supporters square off in cities and towns across the country.
At least three people have been killed since violent clashes broke out after a contested presidential election last month. The latest victim is a 20-year-old student.
The mayoress of a small town was doused in red paint, had her hair forcibly cut and was made to march barefoot through the streets until she was rescued by police.
Both sides accuse each other of being behind the unrest. On Thursday, Bolivia’s vice president Alvaro García Linera said the opposition was stoking violence and called for it to cease.
“Yesterday (Wednesday) was a shameful day which should never be repeated,” he told journalists.
“We call on the promoters of this violence to rethink and return to an institutional path and no longer promote hate and humiliation against women, children, peasants and workers.
Peaceful protests by day can descend into violent clashes when night falls.
More two weeks after the elections and public spaces in La Paz are still filled with protesters, CGTN witnessed.
Many are calling for new elections are joined by others who demand that President Evo Morales step down. At the same time, thousands of Morales supporters are in Bolivia’s main city too and they are defending their leader.
“I am not here for a political party or political colour I am here because I’m defending the nation, a sovereign and free Bolivia, said Patricia Paz, 60, in La Paz. “We don’t want a dictator,” she added.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Fernando Camacho has come to La Paz saying he wants to personally deliver a pre-written resignation letter to Morales.
The president of nearly 14 years claimed an outright win on October 20th – enough to avoid a second-round runoff.
But that victory was called into question by an unexplained 24-hour halt in the quick vote count, which when resumed showed a shift in favor of the incumbent president.
As divisions in the country deepen, Bolivians await the result of an election audit by the Organisation of American States.
Many hope it could lead to an end to the unrest and uncertainty.