Supporters of Ousted Bolivian President March Into Capital Carrying Coffins of Those Killed In Protests

Supporters of Evo Morales, who resigned from office on November 10, marched into La Paz on Thursday bearing the coffins of their fellow activists.

The coffins belonged to people who had been killed by police in the ongoing protests that have wracked the country since Morales announced he was stepping down from office after three consecutive terms.

The marchers tried to place an effigy of interim President Jeanine Áñez and one of the coffins on top of an armored vehicle and drive it into the town square, close to where the presidential palace is located.

When police and protesters met, another clash began. Protesters, chanting "murderers", threw dirt, bottles and water at the police; they dragged the effigy of Áñez across the ground and flogged it. The police fired tear gas on the protesters, driving them away.

Chanting for justice and demanding the resignation of Áñez, thousands had participated in the funeral parade, which stretched from El Alto to La Paz, a 9-mile walk. The protesters they were bearing with them were killed during a clash with police near a fuel plant on Tuesday.

At least 32 people have died since Morales' resignation in the ongoing conflict. His presidency had been marked with positives and negatives, but when the Bolivian Supreme Court, in light of Morales' 2016 electoral loss, ruled in 2017 that it was "subservient" to Morales' wish to run for as many presidential terms as he wished, protests began to erupt.

On October 26, 2019, Morales was again accused of election fraud after a last-minute 10 percent surge in votes in his favor was reported during a 2019 presidential election. An October 30 report by the Organization of American States reported that the vote was so "riddled" by technical errors that it was impossible to tell who the election's victor was, with the last-minute voter surge being deemed "highly unlikely." Morales and his regime had the ruling declared null and void.

Reports of ballot material being found in trashcans were followed by the resignation of several high-ranking officials. The police force mutinied, declaring that they were unwilling to help Morales quash the growing protests. Morales then agreed to a new vote, but by then it was too late—when the country's biggest labor organizations and the country's military both declared they supported his ouster, Morales resigned, suggesting the election results were part of a coup and he would eventually return. On Tuesday he tweeted that a "truth commission" would be formed to determine if election fraud was committed or not, and called the violence against his indigenous supporters "genocide."

His removal from office was followed by an acceptance of asylum in Mexico, the resignation of the heads of the Senate and House of Deputies, and Jeanine Áñez stepping into the power vacuum and declaring herself president on November 12.

Morales, protests, bolivia
Supporters of Evo Morales, who resigned from office on November 10, marched into La Paz on Thursday bearing the coffins of their fellow activists. The protesters had apparently been killed in the ongoing that have wracked the country since Morales announced he was stepping down from office after three consecutive terms. Gaston Brito Miserocchi/Getty

But the Áñez presidency hasn't been popular. Replacing Morales' cabinet with her allies and declaring that "The Bible has returned to the palace," her presence agitated both those who wanted a fresh election and those who still supported Morales.

This led to more and more violent clashes between citizens and members of the military and police force, during which Áñez declared amnesty for soldiers and members of the police. The unrest has only grown in recent weeks as food and fuel shortages have begun to set in.

But Áñez' regime has begun to pave the way for the results of the October election to be declared null and void, which means that the path will be clear for a new election. A new election has been proposed to take place as early as January 12, 2020.