The Bolivian army killed eight Morales supporters on Tuesday, deepening the conflict between the indigenous population and the country’s mainly European descended elite.

Bolivia, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, has experienced bloody street clashes between supporters of the former President Evo Morales and the current de facto government after he left the country for Mexico on November 13. 

Despite offers of compromise by Morales to end the conflict between his Indigenous-dominated supporters and the old guard, heavy clashes, which killed at least 32 people, continue across the country. 

Morales, a socialist and a member of the country’s native population, accuses his opponents of being fascists determined to repress indigenous peoples, who have long suffered from discrimination. 

“Stop this massacre of indigenous brothers who ask for peace, democracy and respect of life in the streets,” Morales wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. 

“In Bolivia, they are killing my brothers and my sisters. This is the kind of thing the old military dictatorships used to do,” he also said during a press conference in Mexico City. 

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales looks on during a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico November 20, 2019.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales looks on during a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico November 20, 2019. (Carlos Jasso / Reuters)

His political rivals, who are part of the country’s mainly European descended elite, accuse Morales of rigging recent presidential elections in order to hold on to power indefinitely. 

On Tuesday, in a clash between Morales supporters and the de facto government’s security forces in El Alto, a stronghold of Morales, eight people were killed by soldiers. People were allegedly trying to block access to the Senkata gas depot, which provides essential full supply to the capital.

People protest near petrol plant in Senkata in El Alto, Bolivia November 20, 2019 in this still image obtained from social media video.
People protest near petrol plant in Senkata in El Alto, Bolivia November 20, 2019 in this still image obtained from social media video. (Credit: LA IZQUIERDA DIARIO ARGENTINA/via REUTERS / Reuters)

The de facto government claims that Morales called on his supporters to impose a 24-hour siege on Bolivian cities in order to back anti-Morales forces into a corner. 

According to a disputed intelligence report, during a wiretapped telephone call, Morales asked a supporter to organise protesters into different squads so that they could fight de-facto government forces across the country. 

“Brother, don’t let food into the cities, we are going to do a blockade, a true siege. From now it is going to be fight, fight, fight,” he allegedly said on the phone. 

But supporters of Morales and his Movement Toward Socialism party refused to accept the authenticity of the call. 

While Morales, who resigned on November 10, has called for new elections in which he would not stand, his rivals have not made any gestures of compromise.

The de-facto rulers of the country have even accused Morales of “terrorism”, labeling his supporters “terrorists” after the violent clashes

Women serve lunch to their fellow coca farmers and supporters of Bolivia's ousted President Evo Morales as they stage a blockade of an entrance to Sacaba, near Cochabamba, Bolivia, November 20, 2019.
Women serve lunch to their fellow coca farmers and supporters of Bolivia's ousted President Evo Morales as they stage a blockade of an entrance to Sacaba, near Cochabamba, Bolivia, November 20, 2019. (Marco Bello / Reuters)

Despite his resignation, Morales views the army’s grab on power, alongside protests against himself as a coup. 

The veteran leader had the longest election winning streak in South America, securing election continuously since 2006.

Morales supporters believe that anti-Morales forces are dominated by racist elements who are against the country’s Indigenous populations. 

A resident of El Alto, Ricardo Benito Mamani, said “Our government is racist”

“They are trampling on our democracy. This lady president has to go,” he continued, referring to the interim President Jeanine Anez. 

Anez is a  senator with a reputation for anti-Indigenous statements. In a 2013 tweet, which she later deleted, Anez called indigenous (or Aymara) new year celebrations “Satanic.”

A few days before her inauguration, she also humiliated a group of Indigenous men for their dress writing “Original Peoples???” on Twitter. 

Morales, a native Aymara, has been universally credited with lifting millions of Bolivians out of poverty through his economic policies of prioritising the poorand indigenous against the country’s rich white-dominated elites. 

Source: TRT World