- Created: 17 March 2016
Published on 16 March 2016 by teleSUR.
Taking to the streets of La Paz to defend their leader, President Evo Morales, supporters say the attacks against him must stop.
More than 5,000 community representatives marched through the streets of La Paz in a major show of support for President Evo Morales.
Shouting "We stand by Evo," the crowds brought a large part of the center of La Paz to a complete standstill.
Supporters of the president decided to march to show "that we still have a voice," said Quisa Cossio, who came from the town of Viacha to take part in the event.
She was referring to the recent referendum result where the "No" campaign scored a narrow and rare victory over the government supported "Yes" campaign.
The result means that President Evo Morales and his Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera will not be able to run in the next elections in 2019.
Still bruised by the defeat, Evo’s hardcore supporters insisted they may have "lost the battle, but not the war."
"The people have mobilized and we’re going to support today, and always, our brother Evo because he is our leader," the president of the National Confederation of Neighborhood Committees Efraín Chambi, told the enthusiastic crowd.
The supporters, mostly Indigenous people, whose rights have been strengthened since Evo Morales took office, said they wanted Evo Morales to stay in office beyond 2019.
"We want to raise awareness, to promote a sense of our homeland and for Evo to continue the process of change," says Saturnino Laquana, who attended the march.
Leaders also attacked Bolivia’s right and the opposition, claiming their sole motivation is to discredit Morales and meddle in his private life.
For the past month, President Morales has been battling allegations of corruption surrounding his relationship with a former partner, Gabriela Zapata.
President Morales admitted that they had had a child together but he was told the boy died shortly after birth. Later it was claimed by an aunt of Zapata that the boy was alive. President Morales ordered the child to be "brought to the presidential palace." But the family of Gabriela Zapata, who is now in jail, never arrived.
Speaking at a hastily convened press conference on Wednesday, Bolivia’s attorney general presented new evidence claiming Zapata used forged documents to prove that she had a child with the president.
Vice President Garcia Linera says it's all part of a plot concocted by the opposition and warned supporters this is just how "the neoliberals govern."
"If we let this hypocritical right return to power we will have more taxes and tariffs that will keep Bolivia poor," said Garcia Linera.
Concluding his address the vice president said, "We will never abandon the people because we are the people."