La Paz, Aug 25 (EFE).- Bolivian President Luis Arce headed a mass pro-democracy rally Thursday that government-allied indigenous, peasant and worker groups had organized in response to alleged destabilization efforts.
Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca began walking with a group that set off from a location in La Paz and later joined up with another march that had descended from the nearby city of El Alto and was led by ex-President Evo Morales, chairman of the ruling leftist MAS party.
In taking part in the rally, Arce expressed his thanks to the Bolivian people for “so much affection” and for standing up for the country’s democratic institutions.
In a Twitter post early Thursday, the leftist president praised the “unity of the Bolivian people, who are marching stronger than ever today to tell the coup-mongering right to respect democracy!”
The rally was organized by the so-called “Unity Pact,” a coalition of unions and peasant and indigenous organizations that back MAS.
Also joining Thursday’s march were several ruling-party lawmakers, including Senate President Andronico Rodriguez.
Those pro-government sectors accuse the governor of the eastern department of Santa Cruz, opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, of working to destabilize the country and promoting efforts to oust Arce in a coup.
That purported destabilization move is part of a new bid to subvert democracy, according to Arce’s allies, who say Morales’ resignation in 2019 after losing the support of the armed forces amid post-election vote-rigging allegations amounted to a right-wing putsch.
The leftist leader, who had been in office for 13 years, fled the country but returned to Bolivia after Arce, who had been elected in a landslide, took office in November 2020.
Morales, for his part, tweeted Thursday that “defending democracy means defending the people’s vote.”
“As members of the COB (trade union federation) and the Unity Pact, we’re participating in a march in defense of our government led by (Arce and Choquehuanca). Defending democracy means defending the people’s vote, the nationalization (of natural resources) and the great accomplishments of our Cultural Democratic Revolution,” he added.
Last November, members of MAS-allied organizations and other supporters staged a seven-day, 188-kilometer (117-mile) pro-democracy “march for the homeland,” walking from the western town of Caracollo to La Paz to express their support for Arce amid opposition protests. EFE