Home >News >World >Bolivia government threatens force to clear road blocks
Congresswomen with the Movement Towards Socialism party (MAS), wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, protest Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Anez after she gave the annual presidential address on Independence Day in La Paz, Bolivia, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita) (AP)
Congresswomen with the Movement Towards Socialism party (MAS), wearing face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, protest Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Anez after she gave the annual presidential address on Independence Day in La Paz, Bolivia, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Juan Karita) (AP)

Bolivia government threatens force to clear road blocks

  • Protestors have blocked the road leading to important departments in Bolivia protesting against the government's decision of postponing the elections that have already been postponed twice due to pandemic
  • Many say the election is being delayed because the candidate Luis Arce is leading in the polls

Bolivia's government said on Friday it will deploy police and military personnel to clear road blocks set up by protesters challenging the postponement of the general election.

Fired up by exiled former leader Evo Morales, supporters of his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party -- many indigenous people and peasants -- have set up road blocks in six of Bolivia's nine departments.

They're demanding that authorities reverse a decision to postpone the general election from September 6 to October 18.

The decision was taken by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal as Bolivia's coronavirus pandemic is expected to peak in early September.

Interior Minister Arturo Murillo said state intelligence services had detected the main blockades, mostly in the La Paz, western Oruro and central Cochabamba regions.

"We have the main points and clearly the filming from overhead flights will show us how to act in the operations that we need to launch and will do at any moment," said Murillo.

The elections have twice been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has caused more than 3,400 deaths and 86,000 infections in Bolivia, a country of 11 million.

Demonstrators claim the election is only being delayed because the MAS candidate Luis Arce is leading in the polls ahead of centrist ex-president Carlos Mesa and conservative interim President Jeanine Anez.

Hospitals in La Paz and its sprawling satellite town El Alto have complained of a lack of oxygen, which is vital to treat coronavirus patients in intensive care.

Deliveries have been blocked although trucks carrying oxygen from Santa Cruz in the east to Cochabamba have been allowed through.

Labor Minister Oscar Mercado said "they must lift the blockades because there are also medicines, supplies and food that need to get to cities."

The United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have expressed concern over the blockades against medicines and medical supplies.

The election was originally due to be held on May 3.

It was called after the result of the election won by Morales last October was annulled when an OAS audit found evidence of fraud.

That was followed by three weeks of protests against Morales -- who stood for a fourth term despite being constitutionally barred from doing so.

Morales, Bolivia's first ever indigenous president who was in power for almost 14 years, then resigned and fled the country.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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