Thursday, July 2, 2020

In an attempt to appease protest in Bolivia, President Evo Morales calls for dialogue

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The tension continues to rise: after mutinies took place the day before, demonstrators occupied Saturday the seats of two state media.

Time to Reading 3 min.

In a high tension Bolivia, with mutinies of police units, houses burned down and the occupation of state media by protesters, President Evo Morales launched a call for dialogue on Saturday (9 November). "With parties that won seats in Parliament in the last general election, four parties".

In his address to the nation pronounced on the air base of El Alto, during which he also called the mutinous police to put an end to their movement, Mr. Morales did not call to dialogue the powerful committees of the civil society who launched the protest movement against his reelection.

Minutes after this speech, Carlos Mesa, former Bolivian president and main rival of Morales during the last presidential election, rejected his proposal. "I have nothing to negotiate with Evo Morales and his government", did he declare. Among the other political leaders invited to the dialogue, Ruben Costas, of the Bolivia Dijo No party, also refused to participate.

"The situation in Bolivia is very serious. The dialogue convened today is urgent », wrote on Twitter the head of the Mexican diplomacy, Marcelo Ebrard, confident that his country had "Already asylum applications in progress", without more precision.

Protesters occupy the seats of two state media

New sign of rising tensions in Bolivia, a host of protesters hostile to the president has occupied in La Paz the seats of two state media, Bolivia television TV and Radio Patria Nueva. An occupation that forced their employees to leave the premises.

Read also Bolivia: President Morales denounces coup d'état "in progress"

"We were forced out after receiving threats from people who had gathered" in front of the building in which these two media are, said by telephone the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Ivan Maldonado, the director of Radio Patria Nueva. Several dozen employees were seen leaving the building under the insults of some 300 people gathered there. As a result of their occupation, Bolivia TV and Radio Patria Nueva broadcast only music. President Morales condemned on Twitter the occupation of these media: protesters "Say they defend democracy, but they act like dictatorships".

Shortly after, a radio station of the CSUTCB peasant union in La Paz was also invaded by protesters, according to another tweet from the president. "As a member of the CSUCTB, an essential organization of the indigenous and peasant movement, I denounce the cowardly and savage attack on the radio of this confederation", wrote Mr. Morales. "In the style of military dictatorships, putschists attack union headquarters. "

The Bolivian president has also denounced the arson of his sister's house in Oruro (south) "Irregular group" demonstrators seeking to overthrow him. "We denounce and condemn before the international community (…) the fact that the plan of a fascist putsch executes violent actions with irregular groups that set fire to the house of the governors of Chuquisaca and Oruro, as well as my sister in this city ", wrote on Twitter Evo Morales. Earlier, state television reported that the governor's house in the Oruro department, whose capital is Oruro, had been set on fire.

Military intervention against the mutineers excluded

On Friday, seventeen days after the start of demonstrations against the re-election of Mr. Morales, three police units mutinied in the city of Cochabamba (center), then in Sucre (south, constitutional capital of Bolivia) and Santa Cruz, a rich region of the east of the country and a bastion of the opposition.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Bolivia, part of the opposition demands the annulment of the election

The mutinies spread across the night from Friday to Saturday to other regions, with the exception of those of La Paz and Pando, in the north, according to local media. But isolated scenes of fraternization between police and opposition demonstrators have been observed in the capital.

Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta ruled out military intervention against the mutineers. A speech repeated by the commander-in-chief of the Bolivian Armed Forces, General Williams Kaliman, who confirmed Saturday that the military " will never confront the people. "

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