Tens of thousands of Bolivians protest over ex-president’s arrest
Tens of thousands of Bolivians answered an opposition call Monday for protests against the arrest and detention of former president Jeanine Anez on charges of leading a coup d’etat against her socialist predecessor Evo Morales.
Conservative Anez, 53, was placed in pre-trial detention Sunday after she was arrested on charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.
“It wasn’t a coup. It was a fraud,” read a banner held by one of the protesters who defied the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic to attend marches, sit-ins in front of prosecutor’s offices and peaceful gatherings in the capital La Paz and in the cities of Cochabamba, Sucre, Trinidad and Santa Cruz.
In Santa Cruz, the country’s economic capital, some 40,000 people assembled in the Christ the Redeemer Square, which has only been the site of right-wing demonstrations in the past.
The arrest brought a rebuke from the Organization of American States (OAS), which on Monday expressed “concern about the abuse of legal mechanisms that once again have been transformed into instruments of repression by the governing party.”
“The Bolivian judicial system is not in a position to provide the minimum guarantees of a fair trial,” the office of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a statement.
It called for “the liberation of all those detained in this context, until impartial processes and mechanisms can be put in place to determine responsibilities.”
The government of Peru reported that one of Anez’s former ministers, Roxana Lizarraga, had asked for asylum in the country.
Following her arrest, Anez tweeted on Sunday: “They are sending me to detention for four months to await a trial for a ‘coup’ that never happened.”
In an indictment seen by AFP, prosecutors had originally asked for Anez and two ministers in her year-long caretaker government to be held for six months as a “precautionary” measure…..read more