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Morales urges UN to help stop ‘massacre’ in Bolivia’s protests

Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales, who was forced to resign under pressure from military and political opponents, has called on the United Nations (UN) to help stop the “massacre” of anti-government demonstrators by the government forces in the Latin American country.

Morales on Wednesday accused Bolivia’s interim government of using excessive force against peaceful protesters after clashes between police and indigenous people over a gas power plant blockade reportedly left six people dead in the city of El Alto.

The leftist leader called on the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to “denounce and stop this massacre of indigenous brothers who ask for peace, democracy, and respect for life on the streets.”

Morales had a day earlier accused Bolivia’s interim government and the military of carrying out “genocidal policies” against his supporters in El Alto in partnership with the United States.

“The dictatorship… today caused 6 deaths of fellow brothers in a coordinated operation with the US,” Morales tweeted late Tuesday. “Let the new generations and the world know that this is how the right-wing conducts genocidal policies against the humble people.”

The city, which is adjacent to the Bolivian capital of La Paz, was the scene of violence on Tuesday, when the Bolivian military opened fire on pro-Morales demonstrators blocking the Senkata gasoline plant.

The protesters, who started the siege on the gas plant last week, have been taking to the streets asking for Morales’ return since he was forced to resign on November 10 and left his home county for Mexico under political asylum.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, was declared president for a fourth term in a recent election; but the opposition rejected the outcome and claimed that the election process had been fraudulent.

This sparked violent street protests, which led to a senator proclaiming herself Bolivia’s interim president.

A total of 27 people have been killed since unrest began in the wake of the election, according to Bolivia’s official human rights ombudsman.

The UN last week issued a statement censuring the killing of the protesters as “an extremely dangerous development,” and expressed concern that situation in Bolivia could “spin out of control if the authorities do not handle it sensitively and in accordance with international norms.”