Bolivia: Clashes as Morales supporters oppose interim rule

Bolivia: Clashes as Morales supporters oppose interim rule

Clashes have again broken out in Bolivia as supporters of former President Evo Morales oppose the rule of the new interim leader.

Opposition senator Jeanine Áñez assumed the presidency amid a power vacuum and has vowed to hold elections soon.

Supporters of Mr Morales clashed with riot police, while lawmakers loyal to him sought to challenge the legitimacy of Ms Áñez’s appointment.

Mr Morales resigned on Sunday and has since fled to Mexico.

His resignation followed weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election result. He said he was forced to stand down but did so willingly “so there would be no more bloodshed”.

What happened in the clashes?

Riot police fired tear gas during clashes on Wednesday with supporters of Mr Morales, who marched towards the presidential palace in La Paz to protest against Ms Áñez’s appointment.

Some demonstrators used wooden planks and sheets of metal as weapons.

There were chants of “Now, civil war”, the Associated Press reports.

Protests were also reported elsewhere, including in La Paz’s sister city of El Alto and the coca-growing region of El Chapare.

The latest demonstrations came as lawmakers loyal to Mr Morales sought to challenge Ms Áñez’s legitimacy.

They boycotted the session of congress called to formalise her claim to the presidency, preventing a quorum.

They have since been trying to hold new counter sessions.

Police reportedly blocked some lawmakers allied with Mr Morales from entering the country’s parliamentary assembly on Wednesday.

How did Jeanine Áñez become leader?

Ms Áñez, 52, is a qualified lawyer and a fierce critic of Mr Morales. She was previously director of the Totalvision TV station, and has been a senator since 2010, representing the region of Beni in the National Assembly.

As the deputy Senate leader, Ms Áñez took temporary control of the body on Tuesday after Bolivia’s vice-president and the leaders of the senate and lower house resigned.

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