The umbrella organization of the Bolivian trade unions (Central Obrera Boliviana, COB) and other social organizations have announced an indefinite general strike. In doing so, they want to support the demands of thousands of citizens who protested on Tuesday (local time) against the coup regime’s plans to postpone the date for parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for September 6, which had been delayed several times before. The demonstrators accused the self-proclaimed “interim president” Jeanine Áñez of blocking the restoration of the democratic system that was abolished by the coup against President Evo Morales last November. While the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) had justified the plans with the corona pandemic, opponents of the coup suspect that the postponement should prevent the election victory of the former ruling party “Movement to Socialism” (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS), which was predicted in polls.
According to local media, the biggest mass marches since the coup took place in La Paz and El Alto. Angry workers, farmers and students occupied the interstate between the two cities and blocked the Parotani Bridge in the Cochabamba Department, which is an important transport link. In the cities, the protests were welcomed by “the majority of the population,” although the Defense Minister Fernando López, appointed by the regime, warned the residents on Monday that “the coca farmers came from Cochabamba” to “infect them with the corona virus” how the online portal Latin American Summary reported.
The Cuban news agency Latin Press reported that demonstrators at an open council meeting in the city of El Alto were calling for the “end of the dictatorship” and giving the de facto government 72 hours to confirm the election date in September. Otherwise, the strike begins after this period. According to COB general secretary Juan Carlos Huarachi, the planned actions include work stoppages and hunger strikes as well as road blocks. The regime responded with threats. The leaders of the marches have been identified and are sought by the judiciary, said Putsch Minister López.