AP Explains: Did a coup force Bolivia's Evo Morales out?

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Copyright 2019. The Associated Press. All rights reserved

People line up to use cash machines, amid protests in La Paz, Bolivia, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. The Nov. 10 resignation of President Evo Morales leaves a power vacuum and a country torn by protests against and for his government. ( (AP Photo/Paola Flores)

BOGOTA – Did Bolivia experience a coup or the culmination of a popular movement demanding a president's resignation?

Bolivians and countries around the world are weighing that question after Evo Morales stepped down from power following weeks of upheaval.

The nation's first indigenous leader contends he was forced out of power by a coup instigated by the opposition, while detractors claim his alleged abuse of power triggered a legitimate uprising in the streets.

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WHAT SPARKED BOLIVIA'S UPHEAVAL?

The South American nation has been embroiled in protests since Morales claimed that he won the Oct. 20 presidential election outright.

Bolivia's leader for nearly 14 years needed a 10 percentage-point margin over his closest rival to avoid a December runoff in which he faced a high probability of losing to a united opposition in his quest for a fourth consecutive term.

Election officials abruptly stopped releasing results from a quick count that showed Morales leading the race but not by enough to win in the first round. The development led to accusations of fraud and sparked deadly protests.