The United Nations warned violence in Bolivia could “spin out of control” following recent skirmishes between security forces and coca farmers loyal to ousted President Evo Morales that have left nine dead.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned escalating violence could usurp the democratic process.
“I am concerned that the situation in Bolivia could spin out of control if the authorities do not handle it … with full respect for human rights,” Bachelet said in a statement.
The violence in Bolivia adds to growing unrest in the region, including in neighbor Chile, where protests over social inequalities boiled over into riots that left at least 20 dead. Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina have also seen widespread strikes, protests and riots in recent months.
Morales resigned under pressure from Bolivia’s police and military last Sunday after evidence of vote rigging tainted his Oct. 20 election victory. He fled to Mexico two days after his resignation.