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Supporters of deposed Bolivian president Evo Morales killed in police shootout

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By John Paul Ging  & Associated Press
Bolivia has been rocked by serious clashes since the president was forced out
Bolivia has been rocked by serious clashes since the president was forced out   -   Copyright  REUTERS

A Bolivian town was in mourning on Saturday after at least five supporters of deposed president Evo Morales were shot dead by security forces.

Emotions were raw as relatives of the dead draped Bolivian flags over their coffins, laid out on the highway near Sacaba where the shootings took place.

Witnesses said police opened fire on protesters calling for the return of Morales from exile in Mexico.

They said it happened when the protesters tried to cross a security checkpoint.

At a vigil to mourn the protesters who died, there was anger against Bolivia's new interim president, Jeanine Añez, and against the security forces.

"So this is what they call democracy, killing us like we are nothing", cried one woman as she stood over the coffin of a loved one.

The killings marked a deadly turn for the crisis in Bolivia, sparked nationwide protests over suspected vote-rigging in an election on 20 October in which Morales claimed to have won a fourth term in office.

Enrique Mamani, a local resident, said: "We are not going to let them make us flee or humiliate us. Let me say to Mrs. Añez that she must denounce this, if not the whole country is going to close in on her.

“They have carried out a state coup, paid off the military, paid off the police. There is political persecution against our leaders. Our leaders are being persecuted politically, they are being kidnapped, they are being threatened."

Journalist • Alastair Jamieson