The Canadian government is condemning violence in Bolivia after at least eight people were killed by security forces.
“Canada is concerned about recent deaths,” Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Saturday.
“We condemn all violence as totally unacceptable.”
The government went on to say that Canada “reiterates our call for restraint by all political and social actors in this turbulent time.”
Reports say the victims Friday’s violence were supporters of socialist Evo Morales, who until recently was the country’s president. Dozens were also injured.
There have been widespread protests and violence in Bolivia since a contested election on Oct. 20. Nineteen people have been killed, Bolivia’s national ombudsman said Friday.
Morales resigned last Sunday amid pressure from the military.
Prior to his stepping down, an audit by the Organization of American States — to which the Canadian government lent support — found widespread irregularities. That audit called for new elections, which Canada has backed as well.
Jeanine Anez, a high-ranking right-wing lawmaker who has the support of the military, declared herself interim president. The country’s Constitutional court has backed her position that she did not need to be confirmed by Congress to take control of the country.
Morales, who denies allegations of electoral fraud, has characterized the situation as a coup.
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Asked whether Canada recognizes Anez as Bolivia’s self-declared interim president, a spokesperson said the government supports the solution of having a caretaker administration in Bolivia to prepare for a do-over of the election, avoiding “a power vacuum.”
“Bolivians deserve to have their voices heard and democratic rights respected, and it is critical that free and fair elections be held as quickly as possible,” the statement read.
“Canada stands ready to support those efforts.”
Canada is recommending all Canadians avoid non-essential travel to Bolivia due to the unrest and other factors.
— With files from The Associated Press and Reuters