Death toll in Bolivia unrest rises to 23


Four more people were killed in Bolivia over the past few days, bringing the death toll from the political unrest to at least 23, according to several reports Sunday.

The turmoil began in October, when President Evo Morales won a controversial fourth term in office. Protesters took to the streets claiming the elections were rigged.

After weeks of protests, Morales resigned from his position and moved to Mexico, where he was offered political asylum. In his place, conservative senator Jeanine Anez announced she would be interim president.

But the protests have not died down. Since Morales left for Mexico, mostly rural and indigenous protesters who support him have shown up in the capital La Paz and other major cities. They say the political change is a coup.

Morales has continued to post on Twitter about the violence in his country, saying 24, not 23, have actually been killed in the last several days.

“We demand that the de facto government of Anez…identify the intellectual and material authors of the 24 deaths in five days due to the police and military repression,” Morales tweeted on Sunday. “I denounce to the international community these crimes against humanity, which should not remain in impunity.”

On Friday, security forces opened fire on Morales’ supporters in the city of Sacaba in central Bolivia, killing eight people. Morales called it a “massacre.”

A reporter for Latin American television network teleSUR posted a video Sunday on Twitter alleging that a helicopter from the armed forces was shooting down at civilian protesters who support the former president.

Alberto Fernandez, a high-profile lawyer in Argentina, said on Twitter this weekend that the interim Bolivian government has given the armed forces permission to use their powers to “reestablish internal order.”

“The de facto government that usurped power in Bolivia has released the Armed Forces to act without having to answer for their crimes,” he tweeted. “The number of dead grows.”

The United Nations has warned that Bolivia could “spin out of control,” while analysts expect the violence in the country to continue.
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