Police outside Bolivia's presidential palace abandon posts

Protest against Bolivia's President Evo Morales in La Paz

In a tweet in the early hours of Saturday, Morales repeated accusations that "violent groups" were launching a coup against the state.

Police in Bolivia's main city La Paz have declared themselves in mutiny joining anti-government protests and fellow officers in at least six other cities.

The police rebellion erupted Friday among the elite tactical operations unit known as UTOP in the central city of Cochabamba.

On Friday the defence minister said no action would be taken against the mutinous police.

Buses carrying opposition activists to La Paz came under attack Saturday by Morales supporters in rural Vila Vila, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of La Paz, an opposition leader, Rodrigo Echalar, said on television.

Police units in some cities started protesting on Friday, marching in the streets in uniform as anti-government protesters cheered them from the sidewalks.

On Wednesday he flew to La Paz, Bolivia's capital, with a resignation letter for Mr Morales to sign and a bible "in order that God returns to the palace".

Morales previously held an emergency meeting with ministers.

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The spectacle of police abandoning their positions outside the presidential palace was an ominous development for Morales. His government issued a statement claiming that an opposition plot to oust the president was being led by Camacho and former President Carlos Mesa, who finished second in the October 20 election.

The Bolivian government has been facing widespread protests after the opposition alleged fraud in the counting of votes for the October 20 elections, with Morales being declared an outright victor in results even though the two main candidates had seemed to be heading for a runoff.

There was no immediate comment from either Camacho or Mesa.

Morales declared himself the outright victor even before official results indicated he obtained just enough support to avoid a runoff with former President Carlos Mesa.

Opposition groups have branded the result a fraud and demanded Morales's resignation.

The Organization of American States is conducting an audit of the election count and their findings are expected Monday or Tuesday. Neither Camacho nor Mesa say they will accept the results because they were not properly consulted about the process.

The statement came after Carlos Mesa, the opposition candidate who has disputed Morales' re-election, announced that he would urge the national legislature to call for a new presidential vote by 22 January 2020, when the incumbent leader's current term expires. The country's constitutional court later ruled that term limits violated his human right to run for office, and the electoral court ultimately accepted his candidacy for a fourth term.

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