UPDATED 6:45 PM PT — Sunday, November 17, 2019
The death toll in Bolivia is rising as violent protests continue to rattle the country. According to local media, 15 people were killed in demonstrations Saturday and more than 400 were injured. Protesters are showing support for the country’s recently ousted President Evo Morales.
Security forces opened fire on those supporters, who were attempting to cross a military checkpoint on Friday. Police said the crowds carried weapons and Molotov cocktails, but were dispersed by riot police.
“They came to kill us — we had nothing but our little flags to defend ourselves,” said one protester. “Here are the dead, and there are more than 400 detainees — We don’t know if they are dead or alive, they’ve taken them as trash.”
Morales remains in Mexico, where he has been offered asylum.
Meanwhile, the UN is warning violence from these ongoing protests could “spin out of control.” While covering the protests in Bolivia, Al Jazeera senior correspondent Teresa Bo was pepper sprayed by police. A video released this weekend has gone viral, showing Bo as she reported live from La Paz, Bolivia. Bo turned to identify herself to an officer who sprayed something in her face.
“I hate to be the story because we are here to report on what is happening.”
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 17, 2019
“I was just thrown tear gas by the police – on purpose,” stated Bo. “This is what’s happening in the middle of a plaza where people have been protesting peacefully.”
She continued to deliver her report on the situation despite the injury. Bo has released a statement via Twitter, thanking people for their support and expressing her hope that such practices will be denounced.
Thanks so much to those who understand we are only doing our job. I hate to be the story because we are here to report on what is happening to the people in the amazing country. I hope it helps denounce that such practices cannot be tolerated. Not here not anywhere.
— Teresa Bo (@TeresaBo) November 16, 2019