Clashes between protesters in favor of the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, and the country's police in La Paz. – Gaston Brito / DPA
Former President Morales condemns the deaths
The confrontation between the Bolivian Police and Army with protesters against the Government of the self-proclaimed interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, in the city of Sacaba, in the department of Cochabamba, has left at least nine coca growers dead, dozens injured and more of 100 arrested, as reported by a representative of the Ombudsman, Nelson Cox.
The bodies of five coca growers who died Friday at the Hospital Mexico de Sacaba were transferred this Saturday to the Forensic Investigation Institute (IDIF) to identify the causes of death. The other four victims lost their lives at Viedma Hospital between Friday night and this morning. All the deceased have lethal head and chest wounds, according to Cox, quoted by the Bolivian newspaper 'Los Tiempos'.
The events took place at the Huayllani Bridge, in the city of Sacaba, when security forces prevented the coca growers from advancing and arriving in the city.
Cochabamba Police Commander Jaime Zurita has indicated that firearms, artisanal and explosive bazookas have been seized from protesters. “We have negotiated until no more power and then when things pretend to get out of control, then the police have to take command and restore public order,” Zurita said after regaining control of the bridge.
Zurita added that the coca growers intended to enter Cochabamba in a “peaceful” way, but that, finally, “they were found armament and explosive devices,” he said.
Police have shown at a press conference the firearms and homemade weapons seized from coca growers. “The conflict began with a shot that can be seen from the rear sector of the march. We have received images in which the demonstrators are seen with guns and shields that will constitute evidence for the investigation,” said a police spokesman. . A military tank present was eleven shots.
In addition, a leader of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), Marco Carillo, who was in the middle of the march and is now charged with three crimes is being detained.
For his part, the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has condemned the deaths of coca growers and the use of real fire against protesters.
“I condemn and denounce to the world that the coup regime that took power by assault on my dear Bolivia represses with bullets from the Armed Forces and the Police to the people who demand pacification and replacement of the rule of law,” he said in his account of Twitter “Now they kill our brothers in Sacaba, Cochabamba,” he lamented.
In this context, Morales has also requested that the Bolivian Armed Forces and Police “stop the massacre.” “The uniform of the institutions of the country cannot be stained with the blood of our people,” he said.
“The dictatorship of Jeanine Áñez and the coup plotters (Carlos) Mesa and (Luis Fernando) Camacho accused us of 'dictatorship'”, the former president of Bolivia has continued. “Now its self-appointed 'president' and its cabinet of defense lawyers for rapists and repressors massacre the people with the armed forces and the police as the true dictatorship,” he added.
Instead, the new Bolivian government has urged social movements to participate in a dialogue to pacify the country. Specifically, the Minister of the Presidency, Xerxes Justiniano, stressed that there have already been meetings with some social sectors, but there is an openness to talk also with the movement that led the demonstration on Friday in Sacaba.
Justinian explained that by order of Áñez he himself will go to Cochabamba to promote the dialogue. However, he stressed that one of those killed in Sacaba has a “really unique” death wound, because the projectile entered through the back of the neck and from top to bottom: “that means that it did not come from a confrontation crossed, but came from behind his own strength. ”
Justinian stressed that another goal is to tell organizations that “the good things that were done in the previous government will continue, that the projects will not be paralyzed.” “What we want to demonstrate is that the things that were done well will continue to be done well, that the sun is not going to hide, nor will the moon go away, that we will continue to live,” he said.
In this context, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreza has also denounced the “excessive repression” and the “massacre” in Cochabamba. “Strong images, but necessary, to denounce the repressive and dictatorial character of those who have assaulted power in Bolivia,” he wrote on his Twitter account, accompanying the message with a video. “The international community must condemn and act to stop this barbarism,” he has settled.
MORE THAN 100 DETAINED IN PEACE
A total of 110 people have also been arrested this Friday in La Paz in a new day of protests in Bolivia, in this case against the Government of Áñez, the newspaper 'El debe' reported.
“We are processing each particular case, their belongings are being reviewed, we have found explosive devices, footsteps, sticks, slings, blunt objects that were causing fear of their passage,” said the deputy director of the Special Force to Fight Against Crime, Cristian Saavedra.
The political crisis in Bolivia broke out after the presidential elections held on October 20. Morales proclaimed his victory while the opposition denounced a “gigantic fraud.” The audit of the Organization of American States (OAS) has confirmed “irregularities.”
Morales resigned on Sunday and arrived in Mexico on Tuesday as a political asylum. Áñez has proclaimed himself interim president to avoid the power vacuum left by the resignation of the indigenous leader and other senior officials, ensuring that his goal is to hold new elections.