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'We Don't Want Any Dictators': Bolivians Flood Streets to Protest Right-Wing, Anti-Indigenous Coup

"Anti-Indigenous racism is at the heart of what's happening in Bolivia."

A supporter of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales waves white flags during clashes with riot police following a protest in La Paz on November 13, 2019.

A supporter of Bolivian ex-President Evo Morales waves white flags during clashes with riot police following a protest in La Paz on November 13, 2019. (Photo: Jorge Bernl/AFP/Getty Images)

Unrest continued in Bolivia Thursday as protests against the right-wing coup that unseated democratically-elected President Evo Morales on Sunday and the anti-Indigenous ideology behind it entered their fourth day.

Demonstrators filled the streets of the Bolivian capitol, La Paz, waving the indigenous wiphala flag and registering their disapproval of the new interim government of Jeanine Añez.

"We don't want any dictators," protester Paulina Luchampe told Time Magazine on Wednesday. "This lady has stepped on us—that's why we're so mad."

New president Añez has come under criticism for a history of comments promoting an extreme right-wing Christian theocratic ideology, including referring to the country's Indigenous population as "satanic."

Members of the country's police and military forces, whose support for the coup over the weekend precipitated Morales' resignation Sunday, have been photographed cutting the wiphala flag off of their uniforms.

"Anti-Indigenous racism is at the heart of what's happening in Bolivia," tweeted Cherokee activist and writer Rebecca Nagle.

Right-wing militias burning the flag and attacking the country's Indigenous protest movement mean that the conflict is more than just about political differences, said Bolivian feminist Adriana Guzman—it's about the country's right-wing being opposed to everything the Morales government stood for.

"The coup d'état is against all of that," said Guzman. "That's why they degrade. That's why they punish. That's why they burn the Indigenous wiphala flag."

Protests continued on Thursday.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Nick Estes, co-founder and editor of The Red Nation, said that the difference between the two camps in Bolivia is clear.

"The future of Bolivia is currently marching in the streets, the millions of people who voted for Evo in the last elections, the 47% whose voices and votes were stolen by the violent return of the old, colonial oligarchy," wrote Estes.

Protester Luchampe said she hoped the protests would continue until there is a resolution to the conflict that undoes the coup.

"We're going to fight with our brothers and sisters until Evo Morales is back," said Luchampe. "We ask for his return. He needs to put the house in order."

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