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‘4 more people killed in Morales stronghold in Bolivia’

Four more people have lost their lives in clashes with security forces in central Bolivia, a stronghold of former president Evo Morales, a Washington-based rights organization says.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reported the deaths on Saturday, saying that the total number of fatalities in the post-election unrest in Bolivia now stood at 23.

The new deaths came a day after police opened fire at protesters trying to cross a military checkpoint near the city of Cochabamba, also in central Bolivia, killing five Morales supporters.

The IACHR, which is a part of the Organization of American States, said 122 people had also been wounded since Friday.

UN ‘concerned’ about deaths

Early on Saturday, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet issued a statement censuring the killing of the protesters as “an extremely dangerous development.”

“I am really concerned that the situation in Bolivia could spin out of control if the authorities do not handle it sensitively and in accordance with international norms,” Bachelet said.

Jean Arnault, the head of the UN Mission to Colombia, said the organization also hoped it could contribute to an “accelerated pacification process” leading to new elections following Morales’ resignation.

Tensions began in Bolivia after Morales won the country’s presidential election on October 20. The opposition rejected the outcome and claimed that there had been fraud in the electoral process.

That sparked violent street protests in the Latin American country, in what the Morales government called a coup.

However, under pressure from the military and his political opponents, Morales announced his resignation from his post and was granted asylum in Mexico.

Protests against his resignation entered a new phase on Tuesday, when former deputy speaker of Bolivia’s senate, Jeanine Anez, declared herself acting president in a legislative session that failed to reach a quorum because it had been boycotted by legislators from Morales’ left-wing party.

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Venezuelans march in Caracas to back Morales

Meanwhile, the supporters of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro flocked to the streets in the country’s capital of Caracas on Saturday to show solidarity with the leftist Morales.

​A supporter of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro displays a poster in support of ex-Bolivian President Evo Morales, during a pro-government demonstration in Caracas, on November 16, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Demonstrators marched through the city with flags of Venezuela and Bolivia, before rallying around a stage where a slogan reading “anti-imperialist Venezuela; against fascism and in defense of La Paz” was displayed.

As president, Morales helped lift millions out of poverty, increased social rights, and presided over 13 years of stability and high economic growth in South America’s poorest country.

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