Published: Sun, November 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Bolivian police seen joining scattered anti-Morales protests

Bolivian police seen joining scattered anti-Morales protests

Bolivia's governing party has called on its supporters to defend President Evo Morales, after police in some cities joined protests against him.

The country's defence minister said there were no plans to deploy the military to quell the police "mutiny".

Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks during a press conference at the military airport in El Alto, Bolivia, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.

"Sisters and brothers, our democracy is at risk due to the coup d'etat that violent groups have launched to undermine the constitutional order", he wrote on Twitter late on Friday.

The leader of the Pro Santa Cruz Civic Committee has vowed not to leave La Paz until he delivers a pre-written resignation letter and a Bible to Morales.

Police units in some cities started protesting Friday, marching in the streets in their uniforms as anti-government protesters cheered them on from the sidewalks.

Police from the Santa Cruz command also closed their station doors and several uniformed men climbed onto the roof, waving red, yellow and green Bolivian flags.

"They (skulls) told me they are anxious, not only the Ñatitas, but all the saints in heaven and that they see us and they think Bolivia will get back to normal again", said Delfina Condotiticona, a regular devotee of the practice.

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Despite earlier reports of no mutiny in police ranks, guards outside Bolivia's presidential palace on Saturday joined other officers in other cities who have abandoned their posts, increasing pressure on President Evo Morales to resign, AP reported.

While Mr Mesa, a former president, has called for a re-run of the election with a new electoral tribunal and Morales as a candidate, Mr Camacho says he will settle for nothing less than Mr Morales' resignation.

His government issued a statement claiming that an opposition plot to oust the president was being led by Camacho and former President Carlos Mesa, who finished second in the October 20 election.

President Evo Morales was not in the compound when police retreated to their barracks, in a sign of growing discontent among security forces after a disputed election.

In some neighbourhoods, people celebrated the police rebellion as if Bolivia had won an important soccer match.

After the October 20 vote, Morales, the country's first indigenous president, declared himself the outright victor even before official results indicated he obtained just enough support to avoid a runoff with Mesa.

The president said he would also invite worldwide organizations including the Vatican, the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS), which is conducting an audit of the election. Neither Camacho nor Mesa say they will accept the results because they were not properly consulted about the process.

Tensions first flared on the night of the presidential election after the results count was inexplicably paused for 24 hours.

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