Bolivia’s ousted leader Evo Morales pleaded with his country’s military to stop firing on unarmed demonstrators protesting the coup-imposed interim leadership, after several activists were killed in clashes with security forces.
“We ask the armed forces and the Bolivian Police to stop the massacre,” Morales said in a tweet late on Friday. “The uniform of the institutions of the Homeland cannot be stained with the blood of our people.”
Pedimos a las FFAA y a la Policía Boliviana que paren la masacre. El uniforme de las instituciones de la Patria no puede mancharse con la sangre de nuestro pueblo.
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 15, 2019
At least five protesters were killed and some 75 injured in the streets of Cochabamba on Friday during hectic skirmishes with police and military after thousands of indigenous Morales backers gathered to protest the socialist leader’s ouster. Though there was no violence at the rally in the morning, clashes broke out when the military blocked the march from crossing a nearby checkpoint.
The aftermath was seen in a series of extremely graphic images posted on social media, some showing protesters with serious injuries and what appear to be bullet wounds.
Four of the five activists killed in the Cochabamba incident have been named by local health officials, though one remains unidentified.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an ostensibly independent branch of the Organization of American States (OAS), slammed the Bolivian security forces for “disproportionate” violence in a statement on Friday.
“IACHR condemns disproportionate use of police and military force in Cochabamba #Bolivia that have already resulted in 5 deaths and multiple injuries,” the NGO said in a tweet. “Firearms must be excluded from the devices used to control social protests.”
Though the OAS hailed the coup in Bolivia as a win for democracy, apparently even it could not ignore the brutality any longer.
While the unrest in Bolivia has only worsened since Morales’ removal from office, the new self-appointed “interim” government led by former opposition Senator Jeanine Áñez has deflected blamed on anyone but itself for the ongoing chaos, ordering Cuban and Venezuelan diplomats stationed in the country to return home under a cloud of accusations.
Apparently finding time between executing the power grab and suppressing the pro-Morales protest in the streets with live ammunition, the acting government announced that it would recognize Venezuela’s own self-declared ‘interim’ president, Juan Guaido.
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