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News > Bolivia

Soldiers Deployed in La Paz, Racism Rise Against Indigenous

  • A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest in La Paz, Bolivia November 12, 2019.

    A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest in La Paz, Bolivia November 12, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 November 2019

As the far-right opposition is taking over the government and taking down symbols of the Indigenous flag that Evo Morales represented, protests in the streets are taking a new violent turn.

Police and military patrols are taking over the streets of the Bolivian capital on Tuesday, shortly after ousted President Evo Morales landed in Mexico, where he was granted political asylum.

Bolivia's Evo Morales Lands In Mexico As A Political Refugee

The national police has been reportedly been setting up barricades in the streets in order to block the way for the Indigenous protesters marching in La Paz and Cochabamba.

In a video published by far-right media outlet El Deber, police chief of Cochabamba province Jaime Zurita encouraged the opposition to join the patrols and barricades.

Ayamara Indigenous protesters marched from the neighborhood of El Alto, shouting "Ahora Si Guerra Civil" ("Civil War It Will Be Then"), responding to what they felt were provocative supporters burning the Indigenous whipala flags amid racist slurs.

Violent clashes with indigenous protesters were reported at dawn, with at least six citizens were shot, around 30 people were injured and a girl was rescued by anti-coup protesters.

Policemen have also posted videos on social media where they cut off the whipala flag from their uniforms.

"Entering the Government's Palace with a Bible and a letter in the hand to kneel down before the cameras without any popular vote as legitimacy is a fascist and coup-plotter move," said María Galindo, founder of the feminist collective Mujeres Creando, referring to opposition Luis Fernando Camacho and presidential candidate for the opposition Carlos Mesa.

"Burning the homes of government officials from the cabinet of Evo Morales is fascism, as well as burning the home of the head of public university Waldo Albarracin by Morales' supporters," she added in a column published in Argentine news outlet La Vaca, warning about an atmosphere of vendetta in the country.

In a communique released on Monday, the military High Command announced the beginning of operations meant to "protect essential public services" as well as "to guarantee peace and stability in the country."

Indigenous leaders and social activists denounced that the Police have joined the coup, which is being supported by former commander Yuri Calderon who publicly threatened to arrest MAS supporters.

In Bolivia, military forces have not been deployed for public order tasks since October 2003, when they defended the pro-market President Sánchez de Lozada, resulting in at least 77 deaths and 400 injured.

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