LA PAZ – Clashes erupted on Tuesday in the center of La Paz between defenders and detractors of President Evo Morales, as Bolivian police attempted to contain the violence.
Clashes between those for and against Morales began following a march called by civic groups to request the resignation of the president – whom they accuse of electoral fraud in the Oct. 20 elections – as the office of the ombudsman asked people to “calm down.”
“We are seeing with extreme concern, with extreme pain the confrontation between civilians,” it said in a Tuesday statement. “We are attentive to the consequences that today’s clashes will bring.”
The march – attended by many university students – clashed with a pro-Morales group near the government headquarters, where miners, workers and villagers were holding a vigil to support the president.
Some protesters fought until the police’s arrival, who then established a security perimeter.
The incidents occurred in the same area where similar clashes took place Thursday when those opposed to the president were involved in police scuffles, who used tear gas to disperse protesters.
Protests have taken place for more than two weeks in Bolivia after opposition and civic movements said Morales had committed fraud in the recent election – which he won for a fourth consecutive term.
Though protests were especially violent last week – with clashes between opposing sides leaving two dead –, tensions have since subsided.