Bolivian President Evo Morales announces new elections amid protests

Bolivian President Evo Morales vowed Sunday to call new elections after weeks of protest demanding his resignation, news wires reported. Morales said he would call for "new national elections" that would allow "the Bolivian people to democratically elect new authorities".

The announcement came shortly after the Organization of American States called for the annulment of the previous poll, held three weeks ago. "The first round of the elections held last October 20 must be annulled and the electoral process must begin again," it said. The first round was denounced by the opposition as fraudulent, sparking protests that have continued ever since.

On Saturday the anti-government protesters overran two state-run media outlets and forced them off the air. Demonstrators burst into the offices of Bolivia TV and Radio Patria Nueva and forced employees to leave, accusing them of serving the interests of Morales, said the director of the latter of the two, Ivan Maldonado. "We were evicted by force after receiving constant threats from people gathered outside," Maldonado told AFP.

Morales denounced the seizure of the media outlets. "They say they defend democracy, but they behave as if they were in a dictatorship," he tweeted. A radio station run by a farmers' union was also seized by protesters, Morales said.

Some police have stopped guarding the square where the Morales presidential palace is located. Opposition leaders urged the military to follow in the footsteps of the rebellious police. Three people have died so far and hundreds injured in unrest triggered by the protests.

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