Bolivia’s growing crisis turns deadly as five killed in clash

SACABA, Bolivia (AP) – Bolivia’s political crisis turned deadly after security forces opened fire on supporters of Evo Morales in a central town, killing at least five people, injuring dozens and threatening the interim government’s efforts to restore stability following the resignation of the former president in an election dispute.

Most of the dead and injured on Friday in Sacaba near the city of Cochabamba suffered bullet wounds, Guadalberto Lara, director of the town’s Mexico Hospital, told The Associated Press.

He called it the worst violence he’s seen in his 30-year career.

Angry demonstrators and relatives of the victims gathered at the site of the shootings, chanting: “Civil war, now!”

Morales, who was granted asylum in Mexico after his resignation last Sunday, said on Twitter that a “massacre” had occurred and he described Bolivia’s government led by interim President Jeanine Áñez as a dictatorship. “Now they are killing our brothers in Sacaba, Cochabamba,” he said in another tweet.

Protesters said police fired when demonstrators, including many coca leaf growers who backed Bolivia’s first indigenous president, tried to cross a military checkpoint.

Police detain supporters of former President Evo Morales during clashes in Sacaba, Bolivia. PHOTO: AP