Weekly Report - 18 March 2021 (WR-21-11)

Bolivia faces threat of violent unrest as Áñez arrested

Bolivia’s prevailing political polarisation deepened dramatically this week and could spill over into violence. The decision by the judiciary to order the pre-trial detention on 14 March of former interim president Jeanine Áñez (2019-2020) sparked massive protests in the country’s largest cities, especially Santa Cruz. Sympathy for Áñez, whose administration exceeded its remit of holding fresh elections and itself stoked polarisation, is not particularly widespread. But there is deep-seated concern within the opposition, and its supporters, that revenge is in the air and this is just the start of political persecution by the ruling left-wing Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), which controls the judiciary.

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