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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 Friday in Sacaba near the city of Cochabamba suffered bullet wounds, Guadalberto Lara, director of the town's Mexico Hospital, said. He called it the worst violence he's seen in his 30-year career.
Demonstrators - Relatives - Victims - Site - Shootings
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 Sunday, said on Twitter that a 'massacre' had occurred and he described Bolivia's government led by interim President Jeanine Anez as a dictatorship.
Brothers - Sacaba - Cochabamba - Tweet
'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. Emeterio Colque Sanchez, a 23-year-old university student, said he saw the dead bodies of several protesters and about two-dozen people rushed to hospitals, many covered in blood.
Day - Anez - Morales - Charges - Election
Earlier in the day, Anez said Morales would face possible legal charges for election fraud if he returns home from Mexico City, even as the ousted leader contended he is still president since the country's legislature has not yet approved his resignation.
Bolivia's interim leader also said Morales would not be allowed to participate in new presidential elections meant to heal the Andean nation's political standoff.
Morales - Sunday - Protests - Vote-rigging - October
Morales stepped down on Sunday following nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an October 20 election in which he claimed to have won a fourth term in office. An Organization of American States audit of the vote found widespread irregularities. Morales has...
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