Unrest in Bolivia shows no sign of slowing down

World Today

Opposition leaders in Bolivia are once again calling for new elections in the country as street clashes continue in La Paz.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

For his part, President Evo Morales said he’s staying put even as pressure is mounting.

By night, chaos returns to the streets of Bolivia’s main city. The battle for this disputed election is being fought on the streets of La Paz.

CGTN witnessed students trying to move towards the presidential palace while miners exploded dynamite to keep them at bay.

There were running battles and explosions as supporters of President Evo Morales squared off against his opponents.

Tens of thousands of mostly young Bolivians have taken to the streets.in the aftermath of last month’s presidential election and accusations of vote-rigging.

“We have been here since the elections on October 20,” said student Estefany Conde. “We are fighting, trying to defend our vote.”

Sebastian Vasquez, a 19-year-old student said: “Everything the president is doing is unfair.

“We don’t want there to be more deaths while the police do nothing.”

At least three people have been killed and dozens wounded.

Amid a divided opposition, a radical civic leader has emerged calling for President Morales to step down.

“We are totally apolitical and citizen-based,” opposition leader, Luis Fernando Camacho, from Santa Cruz said.

“We don’t defend any candidate, we defend the people’s vote. We don’t want a second round. We want new elections.”

But continuing his presidential activities on Friday, Evo Morales – Bolivia’s leader of nearly 14 years – appeared unmoved.

“The right says ‘Evo must resign’. I want to say to you sisters and brothers, and to all Bolivia and the world, I will not resign!” he told supporters at an event in Desaguadero.

In his toughest ever electoral race, Morales claimed victory on October 20th – with enough votes to avoid a second-round runoff.

But many Bolivians shouted fraud after an unexplained 24-hour halt in the vote count, which when resumed showed a shift in favor of the incumbent president.

Morales’ closest challenger Carlos Mesa accused the government of cheating.

A way out of the crisis may depend on an election audit by the Organization of American States.

But neither Mesa nor other opposition leaders said they will respect it.