It is difficult to piece together the various news reports, social media info, accounts from friends, and what we ourselves have experienced, in a coherent and accurate way. For a broader context surrounding the current unrest in Bolivia, please see our previous blog.
Friday, Nov. 8th:
Various police groups began to declare mutiny, no longer willing to support the government. Starting in Cochabamba, the movement quickly spread to several stations across the country, sparking excitement and anxiety in the public.
Saturday Nov. 9th:
Violent altercations broke out nationwide as tension grew between anti and pro government groups. Caravans of miners and university students headed to the capital to confront the president were ambushed on the road. Some were shot at and assaulted, while others were kidnapped, beaten and violated.
Sunday Nov. 10th:
Early Sunday morning an international audit of the election announced that there were signs of voter fraud, prompting the president to call for new elections. This proposal was rejected by protesters who felt he should be disqualified from running again. Calls for the president's resignation increased as various leaders of the governing party began to step down.
At 5pm President Evo Morales officially resigned.
We took to the streets where celebrations had begun; however, within an hour we heard shouts of ‘ambush’ and ‘attack’, as significant panic took over. In the east of the city a large group had rallied in response to the president’s recent message, concluding that “the fight continues.” Looting, various house fires, and violent confrontations ensued overnight.
It was announced that an arrest warrant has gone out for the ex-president who was hiding in the jungle region of the Cochabamba department. That evening Evo accepted an offer of political asylum from Mexico, who along with a few nations, consider these events a calculated coup d'etat. There is no clear interim leader as of yet, leaving a power void.
Violence, looting, arson, and civil unrest continue throughout the country, with many feeling vulnerable and insecure. We continue to receive messages from friends in victimized neighborhoods who are asking for prayer as they attempt to protect their homes and businesses after witnessing police stations and schools being burned. Blockades are set to continue indefinitely.