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BOLIVIA has plunged into further chaos after an apparently Christian supremacist politician anointed herself interim president as footage on social media appeared to show widespread abuse of indigenous peoples across the country.
On Tuesday night, deputy Senate speaker Jeanine Anez began a session in an almost empty house, going on to declare herself president of the Senate and then interim president of the country.
"La Biblia vuelve a Palacio", dice Jeanine Áñez. La senadora, quien se declaró presidenta de #Bolivia, se dirigió al antiguo Palacio de Gobierno levantando una Biblia.https://t.co/3kh3o0KNGP pic.twitter.com/EVF4N85VPi
— CNN Argentina (@CNNArgentina) November 12, 2019
“As president of the chamber of senators, I immediately assume the presidency of the state as foreseen in the constitutional order,” Ms Anez said.
“And I commit myself to accept responsibility for all necessary measures to pacify the country.”
Soon afterwards a military officer tied the presidential sash around her, giving the unconstitutional move a veneer of legitimacy.
Clashes quickly broke out across the country between supporters of ousted president Evo Morales, who flew to exile in Mexico earlier on Tuesday, and supporters of the right-wing coup.
Video posted online yesterday by documentary film-makers Redfish appears to shows Bolivian police kicking and hitting prone indigenous protesters with the butts of their guns.
Clips of protests against the coup were also shared widely on social media. In one, an armed indigenous group vows to fight against “the right-wing, military coup.”
Ms Anez was later filmed on CNN Argentina lifting a giant bible above her head, surrounded by her supporters, shouting: “The bible returns to the palace.”
Mr Morales reformed the country’s constitution to grant rights to “mother Earth” — “Pachamama” — an indigenous Andean goddess. In practice the law protects the environment from degradation but Bolivia’s hard right see it as a pagan disgrace.
Images of now-deleted tweets by Ms Anez circulated on Twitter yesterday. In one from 2013, she says: “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites.
“The city is not for the Indians. They should go to the Altiplano [the Andean plateau] and al Chaco [plains].”
Venezuela’s failed coup leader Juan Guaido saluted Ms Anez on Twitter yesterday.
“From the legitimate government of Venezuela, we recognise Jeanine Anez as interim President of Bolivia, in her mission to guide a constitutional transition towards a presidential election.
“They are an inspiration to our country. We have the conviction that we will achieve freedom.”
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