Bolivians protest after Supreme Court allows President Evo Morales to run for fourth term
Although Bolivia’s constitution bars him from running in next October’s election and a 2016 national referendum determined he should not be allowed to change the constitution to do so, the court, nevertheless, ruled in his favor on Tuesday.
‘Bolivia said NO’
In the capital, La Paz, as well as major cities, including Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, angry protesters blocked streets and disrupted public transportation, chanting and waving banners emblazoned with the words “Bolivia said NO,” in reference to the 2016 referendum.
Protesters had called for a general strike, yet banks and other businesses remained open. Though the government has sought to downplay the protests, other institutions, such as the Catholic Church, which is very influential in the South American country, voiced support for the protesters, saying the court’s decision “called into doubt the very basis of democracy, leaving Bolivians with an uncertain future.”
‘What remains now is to resist’
La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla, who opposes Morales, said, “What remains now is to resist this decision, to turn to the streets in protest, to prevent this decision from being realized.” Former President Carlos Mesa, Morales’ main opponent in next year’s election, called for the opposition to wage “a democratic battle” against the court’s ruling.
Senator Arturo Murillo of the opposition Unidad Nacional railed against the court, saying: “The will of the voters is above the constitution and international norms. The Electoral Court has no respect for the result of the referendum.”