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Bolivian Police Joins Opposition As Crisis Mounts

Bolivian Police Joins Opposition As Crisis Mounts
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By Staff, Agencies

Police in three Bolivian cities joined anti-government protests Friday, in one case marching with demonstrators in La Paz, in the first sign security forces are withdrawing support from the country’s President Evo Morales after a disputed election that has triggered riots.

The defense minister said the government has for now ruled out a military operation against the rebellious police as the political crisis stemming from last month's vote escalates.

Morales convened an emergency meeting with some of his ministers. The scope of the police rebellion was not immediately clear.

Bolivia has been rocked by deadly violence over opposition claims that Morales rigged his re-election last month.

On Friday dozens of police joined demonstrators marching along Prado Avenue in the capital and shouting slogans against Morales, AFP observed.

Bolivian television broadcast footage of police shaking hands with demonstrators in downtown La Paz – a stark contrast to the last three nights, when the two sides clashed.

In some La Paz neighborhoods, police retreated to their barracks rather than take on protesters who shouted: "Police, our friends, the people are with you."

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