Protests erupted in La Paz, Bolivia on Wednesday following Jeanine Añez’s declaration that she would take over as the country’s interim president.
Demonstrators in the capital and a nearby city reportedly waved indigenous flags in support of Evo Morales, the ousted Bolivian president who stepped down this week, amid reports of opposition supporters attacking indigenous people in the wake of his resignation. Morales was the first indigenous Bolivian to assume the country’s presidency, according to The Associated Press.
Morales, living in Mexico under asylum, has described his ouster backed by the country’s military as a coup d’etat and accused Añez of taking power illegitimately, a charge echoed by some Democrats in Congress including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
“We’re going to fight with our brothers and sisters until Evo Morales is back. We ask for his return. He needs to put the house in order,” one protester told the AP.
“We don’t want any dictators. This lady has stepped on us — that’s why we’re so mad,” she added.
Protest march to La Paz against the racist, anti-Indigenous coup in Bolivia. This footage won’t make mainstream North American media. Amplify
Critics of Morales including the Organization of American States (OAS) have labeled Morales’ latest reelection fraudulent after voting irregularities occurred during a runoff election.
The interim president said Tuesday night at a legislative session boycotted by Morales supporters that she would return the rule of law to Bolivia.
“My commitment is to return democracy and tranquility to the country,” Añez said. “They can never again steal our vote.”