Home International Bolivia slams armed protesters as chaos hampers virus relief

Bolivia slams armed protesters as chaos hampers virus relief

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Demonstrators burn tires to protest the postponement of the upcoming presidential election in El Alto, Bolivia, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Citing the ongoing new coronavirus pandemic, the nation's highest electoral authority delayed presidential elections from Sept. 6 to Oct. 18, the third time the vote has been delayed. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

Bolivian authorities denounced the actions of armed protesters as the country entered the 10th day of roadblocks that have prevented vital medical supplies needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic from reaching hospitals.

Supporters of exiled former president Evo Morales have set up 142 roadblocks throughout all nine Bolivian departments, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Javier Issa said on Wednesday.

The demonstrators – mostly indigenous people and farmers – are angry that a general election has been delayed for a second time.

Fired up by Morales from his exile in Argentina, they’re demanding it is restored to its previous Sept 6 date rather than Oct 18, as set by the Supreme Electoral Court.

On Tuesday, the United Nations, the European Union and the Catholic Church joined forces to call for a de-escalation of political tensions.

On Twitter, Morales backed the call but then accused his political opponents of “racism” and carrying out “massacres”, charges he regularly levels at the government of interim President Jeanine Anez.

Arce has consistently led opinion polls since he was picked as the MAS candidate in January.

Experts, though, believe Bolivia’s coronavirus spike will hit in early September.

The statement added that this was a time to work towards the common good and “not to put at risk the peaceful, democratic and institutional coexistence between all Bolivians”.

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo said the government supported the move to bring social movements and political parties to the negotiating table to avoid “a civil war”.

Last week Murillo threatened to deploy police and military personnel to clear the roadblocks.

On Monday, top military and police chiefs condemned the “terrorism” of armed people manning roadblocks and called on political leaders to hold a “dialogue, avoiding confrontational action that could increase the levels of conflict”.

Centellas said the central theme of the dialogue should be confronting “altogether” the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 91,000 people and killed 3,700 amongst the population of 11 million. Source: AFP

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