WATCH Bolivian police fire tear gas at mourners carrying coffins of protesters killed in previous clashes

22 Nov, 2019 by https://www.rt.com/

©  Reuters / Henry Romero;  Reuters / Marco Bello

A march in Bolivia’s de facto capital was met by a harsh police response, with security forces firing tear gas at a procession of mourners bearing the caskets of fallen demonstrators, who were forced to drop them in the street.

As unrest grips Bolivia after the ouster of socialist leader Evo Morales earlier this month, violent crackdowns on protests against the country’s post-coup government have only grown more frequent. Scenes from La Paz on Thursday showed armor-clad riot police repelling a protest that doubled as a funeral cortege, compelling mourners to abandon the coffins they carried.

“The de facto government of Anez does not respect the dead in their coffins, nor forgive their relatives, women and children who marched peacefully for respect for life and democracy,” Morales said in a tweet on Thursday, referring to “interim president” Jeanine Anez, an opposition senator who declared herself leader soon after Morales was forced to resign under pressure from the military.

The march encountered a police barrier as it neared the presidential palace, prompting some protesters to chant “murderers” at the officers and others to throw makeshift projectiles, RT Spanish reported. The tear gas was unleashed moments later.

On Tuesday, the police and military fired live rounds at pro-Morales demonstrators who had blockaded a fuel plant in El Alto, near La Paz, killing at least eight, some of whom were carried in caskets during Thursday’s de facto funeral procession.

Anti-war activist and Code Pink co-founder Madea Benjamin, who is currently on the ground in La Paz to witness the demonstrations, said she did not see any violence on the part of the demonstrators before the tear gas came out.

“You can see this is a totally peaceful demonstration and now they’re teargassing people, and people are going to start running, and this is going to get ugly,” Benjamin said while standing yards away from the march.

Since Morales’ removal from office earlier in November – forced out over opposition charges that his government rigged October’s presidential election – at least 31 people have been reported killed in clashes with soldiers and riot police, many of them while protesting the opposition-led interim government. Morales has since fled to Mexico for political asylum, but continues to slam the conduct of the post-coup state as it clamps down on the demonstrations.