0103 GMT December 12, 2019
Unrest has worsened since Evo Morales resigned as president a week ago over allegations of vote rigging as attempts at dialogue between his loyalists and the interim government have faltered, with both sides trading accusations of fomenting violence, Reuters reported.
Anez, 52, a former opposition senator, assumed the presidency after Morales and his vice president resigned at the “suggestion” of the military, followed by three others in the line of succession. Mexico has given Morales asylum.
But Anez has faced a wave of protests led by Morales supporters who say she was installed in a coup and that her presidency threatens the gains made for the non-white majority in Bolivia during Morales’s 14 years in office.
Police fired tear gas at the protesters in Bolivia’s coca-growing highlands to keep them from entering the city of Cochabamba to demand he return to finish his term, which had been due to end in January.
Some farmers threw rocks at security forces and at least ten protesters were arrested, a Reuters witness said.
The region, long a bastion of Morales support, was rocked last week by what human rights observers have described as a disproportionate use of force in the town of Sacaba after security forces shot dead up to ten anti-government protesters.
Anez’s government has claimed that some protesters in Sacaba were armed, and that police officers had also been wounded.
Anez had been due to travel to Beni Province in northeastern Bolivia, but canceled the trip after a ‘threat’ against her life by a “criminal group,” Interim Interior Minister Arturo Murillo told a news conference.
Murillo accused Venezuelans, Cubans, and Colombians of involvement, without providing evidence.
Anez’s government has asked Venezuelan diplomats and Cuban doctors to leave the country, accusing them of stoking unrest, and plans to sever ties with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.