Bolivian opposition leader calls for 'radical' strike action, blockades
05/11/2019 10:09, Sucre/Bolivia, Plurinational State of

(TAP) - A civic leader urged Bolivians to "paralyse" government institutions and block the borders as protests sparked by the contentious election victory last month of President Evo Morales entered their third week on Monday.

The long-standing leftist leader is facing rising pressure from opposition groups pushing for him to step down or to force new elections. An international group is also doing an audit of the Oct. 20 vote.

Amid splits in the opposition, civic groups have come to the fore, with strikes and road blockades in cities tapping into anger over Morales' near 14-year rule.

At a large rally on Monday night in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader who has become a key figure in the opposition, urged supporters to peacefully jam government institutions, starting from midnight.

"We have decided to radicalize the indefinite national civic strike," he told a gathering of tens of thousands, adding that he would march into La Paz on Tuesday with a resignation letter for Morales.

Camacho had previously set a 48-hour deadline for Morales to resign, which expired on Monday night.

Morales, who came to power in 2006 and has become an iconic figure in the landlocked South American nation, has defended his election win and has backed an international audit of the result to resolve the crisis.

Amid the political turmoil, a helicopter carrying Morales made an emergency landing on Monday due to a mechanical malfunction on takeoff from the town of Colquiri, south of La Paz, the air force said. No injuries were reported. Video of the incident spread on social media.

"We had an incident with the helicopter that will be duly investigated," Morales said on Twitter hours later.

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