Concerns for Áñez as people protest against Bolivia ‘persecution’

La Prensa Latina:

La Paz, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Demonstrations took place across Bolivia Wednesday against “repression” of the ruling party and the arrest of former president Jeanine Áñez, who required medical assistance Wednesday.

The demonstrations prompted calls for counter-protests in support of the government of President Luis Arce.

Áñez’s family on Wednesday denounced that the former interim president was suffering heart problems with high blood pressure and that the authorities did not authorize her transfer to a clinic.

Carolina Ribera, Áñez’s daughter went with a lawyer in the afternoon to the prison in La Paz, where an ambulance waited several hours until her transfer was authorized. Ribera said she feared for the health of her mother and that she was concerned about her risk of having a stroke.

However, the director of the prison regime, Juan Carlos Limpias, told the media that her condition did not warrant her leaving the prison and that Áñez had already been treated by medical personnel.

Her lawyer Norka Cuéllar told Efe that the former president’s health “continues to be delicate, she is on oxygen,” with her blood pressure still high, so “tomorrow (Thursday) we will request her judicial exit for a comprehensive assessment by specialists.”

Áñez was transferred Monday to the prison, where she is serving preventive detention for four months while an investigation is being carried out into what the ruling party considers a coup d’état in 2019.

Citizen committees, coca growers and health sectors took part in a massive demonstration to demand independent justice and an end to what they consider political persecution after the arrest of Áñez and two of her former ministers.

Hundreds of people with Bolivian flags and posters with phrases such as “There was no coup, there was fraud, no more lies” and “Revenge is not justice,” marched through the streets of La Paz , where there were clashes with supporters of the ruling Movement for Socialism party, former leader Evo Morales and the current government.

In other cities of the country there were also demonstrations and councils rejecting the arrests and demanding her release, while political and civic sectors reiterated their warnings of national strikes if arrests continue.

The so-called Unity Pact alliance of sectors related to the MAS called for counter-protests on Monday across the country to support the government.

Along with Áñez, two of her ministers and two high military commanders, there are also processes against other opposition political leaders, and several ex-military and former police officers are wanted.

The former interim president and members of her cabinet are accused of sedition and terrorism during the crisis of 2019 after the failed elections that led to the resignation of Morales from the presidency. EFE-EPA


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