La Paz, Bolivia, Nov 22, 2019 / 06:05 pm (CNA).- The Bolivian Bishops’ Conference called for an end to violence, as protests continue in the wake of former president Evo Morales’ resignation.
“We raise our voices to call on everyone: Enough death! Enough violence! Enough suffering and pain!” the bishops said in a statement entitled “Spiral of Violence and Death.”
“We condemn the violence wherever it comes from. We once again remind that it is irrational and irresponsible, and it is not a solution for conflicts between human beings.”
The bishops warned that the “growing spiral of irrationality and violence” will continue bringing injury, death, and mourning to the country unless demonstrators can express their demands peacefully and law enforcement can refrain from the use of excessive force.
Morales resigned Nov. 10 after weeks of protest regarding a disputed Oct. 20 election. The socialist leader had been in power since 2006.
According to the electoral commission, Morales won on the election's first round, but the opposition claimed fraud. The Organization of American States said Nov. 10 that there was “clear manipulation” in the election, and that it was statistically improbable that Morales had won by the margin needed to avoid a runoff.
Within hours of the OAS report, Morales resigned, after being encouraged to do so by the head of the Bolivian armed forces.
The deputy head of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, is serving as interim president until elections are held. Morales has been offered asylum by Mexico.
In some cities, Morales' supporters have clashed with police, and dozens have reportedly been killed. According to reports, blockades by Morales’ supporters have cut off food and fuel in some areas. Demonstrators in El Alto blockaded a gas plant on the route to La Paz. The military broke through, in an operation that left one dead and two injured.
On Friday, the interim government filed a criminal complaint against Morales. It accuses the former president of sedition and terrorism.
Interior Minister Arturo Murillo has presented an audio recording in which he says Morales is heard directing his supporters to create blockades to destabilize the interim government, Reuters reports.
In their statement, the bishops appealed to those in power: “Don’t call for confrontation and violence, let words of peace and reconciliation come forth from your mouths.”
“Let us all be builders of peace and ask the God of life who never desires the death of the brothers to inspire our hearts and our minds to adopt the ways of peace among all Bolivians.”
The Catholic bishops are among those working to promote peace in the country. The Archdiocese of Cochabamba was part of a commission on peace with various civil organizations earlier this week.
“We citizens of Cochabamba and Bolivia reaffirm our right to peaceful coexistence, regardless of any differences,” said the Archbishop Óscar Aparicio of Cochabamba, according to Infodecom.
An 8:00 p.m. Mass was held Nov. 21 in the Sucre cathedral to pray for peace in the country.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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