Bolivian president justifies protests against U.S. asylum for genocide suspects

LIMA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday that the protests by Bolivians outside the United States embassy only showed their rejection to the U.S. government's granting of asylum to genocide suspects, according to news reaching here from La Paz.

"(The protest) isn't any attack, (it) is the reaction of the people against U.S. government policies" that protect and hide criminals, Morales said.

The U.S. State Department on Monday called its ambassador to Bolivia to return home to report about the events after the massive march in front of the U.S. embassy in La Paz on June 9.

Morales played down the U.S. decision to recall the ambassador, saying it is an ambassador's duty to report the events related to his country.

"Each ambassador has the right to give a report. We also request our ambassadors to come and give us reports on many activities they (the U.S.)perform and the work they do," Morales added.

Thousands of Bolivians surrounded the U.S. embassy in La Paz last week and many of them shot fireworks at the U.S. flag flying in front of the embassy building.

The protest came after former Bolivian Defense Minister SanchezBerzain, accused of genocide, told the press last week that a U.S. court had granted him political asylum.

The protesters asked the United States to extradite Berzain, who lives in Florida now.

They also voiced anger over the U.S. sheltering former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, accused of killing dozens of Bolivians in the conflict between the army and anti-government protesters in 2003, and demand his extradition.

Republished from Xinhua News

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