Protesters in Bolivia have been showing off empty bullet casings and tear gas canisters — debris from violent clashes with police that left nine people dead and more than a hundred injured.
The demonstrators come from the coca farming region of Sacaba and are supporters of ousted president Evo Morales, himself a former coca farmer, who has now fled to Mexico.
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet issued a statement calling Friday’s deaths “an extremely dangerous development.”
“I am really concerned that the situation in Bolivia could spin out of control if the authorities do not handle it sensitively and in accordance with international norms,” she said.
Meanwhile supporters of Morales have appealed for calm.
“You dear brothers who are mobilized,” said the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies in La Paz, “I ask you with all my heart, do not engage in confrontation, do not expose yourself to being injured by a stray projectile.”
Morales quit under pressure from the police and military after evidence of vote rigging tainted his victory in last month’s presidential election.
He has called it a massacre of indigenous and humble people asking for democracy.