UN urges ‘urgent’ de-escalation of Bolivia violence

La Paz, Oct 29 (AFP/APP): The United Nations on Tuesday called for an urgent de-escalation of tensions in Bolivia, where rival supporters of President Evo Morales and opposition leader Carlos Mesa have clashed since a disputed election.

The UN office in La Paz said in a statement that it was making a “resounding and urgent” call on politicians, social leaders and all Bolivians “to reduce tensions and reject all acts of violence.”

Riots broke out after the controversial October 20 election won by Morales but described by Mesa as a “fraud,” as rival supporters clashed with each other and security forces.

The UN office expressed “major concern about the serious acts of violence” between citizens throughout the country.

Morales was re-elected in an election that was marred by a sudden and unexplained shift in the vote tally that benefitted the 60-year-old socialist leader.

Dozens wounded in clashes in Bolivia

Mesa and his allies — ranging from the center-left to the right — are demanding the election results be annulled, while several foreign powers, including the European Union and United States, have called for a run-off.

Angry protesters have set up street barricades and gone on strike, while rival supporters have been involved in fist fights or attacked each other with makeshift weapons.

Demonstrators have also clashed with security forces.

Dozens of people were injured in street battles on Monday as protests lasted into a second week.

The government has agreed to allow the Organization of American States (OAS) to audit the vote count, although no start date has been announced.


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