PHOTOS: Bolivians clash over election

Police officers fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police officers fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

LA PAZ - Street clashes broke out on Thursday among supporters and opponents of Bolivia’s government armed with slingshots and dynamite as an opposition leader planned a march to pressure President Evo Morales to resign after disputed elections last month.

Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader from the eastern city of Santa Cruz who has become an icon of the opposition, appeared at rallies in the city earlier in the day calling for Morales to step down.

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He plans to deliver a pre-written resignation letter for the leftist leader to sign, a symbolic move that has sparked an angry response from pro-government supporters and hardened the resolve of a split opposition.

“We will deliver this letter in unity. This letter is not from Santa Cruz; it is from all Bolivia and it will be approved by all Bolivians, because we all want to build a country with democracy and freedom,” Camacho said at a rally.

A protester against Bolivia's President Evo Morales uses a slingshot during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A protester against Bolivia's President Evo Morales uses a slingshot during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

It was not clear when Camacho would deliver the letter, though the government played down its significance on Thursday, saying it would be received as any other petition.

The government also slammed “shameful” violence that led to scores being injured and one killed on Wednesday, blaming the clashes on the opposition as anger rose on both sides. A total of three people have died in the weeks-long protests. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of La Paz on Thursday night as clashes broke out.

Images and television footage from Wednesday showed groups clashing around the country, with particular violence in the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz. A young man was confirmed killed, while images of a local mayor having her hair forcibly cut and being covered in red paint by anti-government supporters circulated widely.

Police fire tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Morales, whose October election win was marred by allegations of fraud after an abrupt halt in the vote count and an unusual swing in the leftist leader’s favor, again blamed the opposition for unrest as he addressed supporters in the rural area of Cochabamba.

In a press conference on Thursday, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera called on opposition leaders Carlos Mesa and Camacho to help stop the violence and heed an ongoing audit of the vote by the Organization of American States (OAS).

Mesa, the runner-up in the Oct. 20 vote, who has been calling for Morales to step down, said on Twitter that a young man who died on Wednesday had been “murdered” by Morales supporters and blamed the government for stoking the violence. (Reuters)

Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Adam Jourdan and Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman

Photography by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

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Protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales hold shields during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales hold shields during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A weapon is fired during clashes between government supporters and protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A weapon is fired during clashes between government supporters and protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A protester against Bolivia's President Evo Morales fires a weapon during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A protester against Bolivia's President Evo Morales fires a weapon during clashes with government supporters in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police officers stand with shields behind tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police officers stand with shields behind tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator prepares to throw a molotov cocktail during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator prepares to throw a molotov cocktail during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer stamps on a fire during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer stamps on a fire during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Law enforcement personnel are seen during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Law enforcement personnel are seen during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator holds up a Bolivian flag during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator holds up a Bolivian flag during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator is seen behind a wall near police officers during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A demonstrator is seen behind a wall near police officers during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer fires a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer fires a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer fires a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
A police officer fires a weapon during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia on Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Demonstrators set up a barricade during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia on Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)
Police fire tear gas during clashes between protesters against Bolivia's President Evo Morales and government supporters, in La Paz, Bolivia Nov. 7, 2019. (Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

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