Protests, clashes ignite after Bolivia’s opposition leader declares herself president

Clashes broke out in the streets of the Bolivian capital Tuesday evening after an opposition leader in the Senate declared herself the country’s interim president following the resignation of Evo Morales.

Jeanine Anez assumed temporary control of the Senate late in the day, putting her next in line for the presidency. Lawmakers of Morales’ Movement for Socialism party were not present when she made the announcement.

Angry Morales’ supporters tried to reach the Congress building screaming, “She must quit!” Police and soldiers fired tear gas trying to disperse the crowd.

Morales, who sought to transform Bolivia as its first indigenous president, flew to exile in Mexico on Tuesday as thousands of his supporters clamoured for his return in the streets of the Bolivian capital.

Military fighter jets flew repeatedly over La Paz in a show of force that infuriated Morales loyalists who were blocked by security forces from marching to the main square.

“We’re not afraid!” shouted demonstrators, who believe the ouster of Morales following massive protests was a coup d’etat as well as an act of discrimination against Bolivia’s indigenous communities.

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