1 killed in violence near Bolivian fuel plant

Security forces in Bolivia on Tuesday launched an operation to supply gasoline from a fuel plant that had been blockaded by supporters of former President Evo Morales

Security forces in Bolivia on Tuesday launched an operation to supply gasoline from a major fuel plant that had been blockaded by supporters of former President Evo Morales.

At least one person was killed and eight were injured during the operation in the city of El Alto, near La Paz, the public defender’s office and a hospital said.

The circumstances of the violence were not immediately clear, though an Associated Press journalist in the area heard shooting near the fuel plant.

Smoke rose from fires set by protesters and a military helicopter was seen flying over the area.

The public defender’s office identified the man who was killed as 31-year-old Deybi Posto Cusi.

Some Bolivian cities have reported food and gasoline shortages because of demonstrations by pro-Morales groups. The operation by security forces was aimed at restoring the supply of fuel to communities.

Víctor Hugo Zamora, the hydrocarbons minister, told ATB television that 23 tanker trucks were able to load up on fuel at the plant after days of blockades.

Morales resigned on Nov. 10 following a disputed election and massive protests by Bolivians who believe he rigged the vote. He left for asylum in Mexico.

About two-dozen people have been killed in unrest since the Oct. 20 election. An interim government says it wants to organize new elections, but it faces fierce opposition from Morales’ camp.

A U.N. envoy and church groups are trying to broker dialogue among Bolivia’s factions.

The Organization of American States, or OAS said Tuesday that new elections should be held as soon as possible, with mechanisms that ensure the process is fair. Prior to Morales’ resignation, the OAS had conducted an audit that found irregularities in the Oct. 20 vote.

There have to be “basic guarantees so that a situation like the one that happened in the last elections doesn’t occur again” OAS representative Rodolfo Piza said after meeting Jeanine Áñez, Bolivia’s self-proclaimed interim president.

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Flores reported from La Paz, Bolivia.

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