Bolivia military says won't 'confront' the people as pressure on Morales builds

Sunday, 2019-11-10 15:21:34
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People take part in a protest against Bolivia's President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia, November 9, 2019. (Reuters)
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President Evo Morales faced rising pressure to resolve a weeks-long standoff over Bolivia’s disputed election on Saturday after police forces were seen joining anti-government protests and the military said it would not “confront the people” over the issue.

Morales’ government decried a “coup” against him by what it called “violent groups,” prompting a number of fellow leftist leaders in the region to rally around him and call for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Morales, Latin America’s longest-standing leader, won an election on Oct. 20, but a delay of nearly a day in the vote count sparked allegations of fraud and led to protests, strikes and road blocks.

In a tweet in the early hours of Saturday, Morales repeated accusations that the opposition was organising a coup against the state. The foreign ministry released a statement saying some police officers had “abandoned their constitutional role of ensuring the security of society and state institutions”.

At a news conference later in the day, Morales called an urgent meeting with the four political parties represented in parliament. By Saturday afternoon, at least two opposition parties had rejected Morales’ invitation and one had accepted.

The president said he would also invite international organisations including the Vatican, the United Nations and the Organisation of American States (OAS), which is conducting an audit of the election.