Page last updated at 01:02 GMT, Sunday, 22 January 2006

In pictures: Morales' indigenous ritual

An Aymara peasant holds a flag from the old Inca empire at the ancient site of Tiwanaku

An Aymara Indian holds a flag from the old Inca empire during spiritual ceremonies on the eve of the inauguration as Bolivian president of Evo Morales.

Thousands of Bolivians gather at the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku

Thousands of Bolivia's Aymara and Quechua Indians gathered at the ruins of the ancient city of Tiwanaku to see the rituals.

Evo Morales (centre) arrives for the ceremonies

Dressed in a red tunic and flanked by spiritual leaders, Mr Morales walked barefoot through the ancient site.

Evo Morales takes part in an indigenous ritual

Bolivia's first Indian to be elected president, he accepted a staff symbolising his leadership of the indigenous peoples.

Evo Morales makes a speech from the ruins of a temple

He then addressed the crowd in Aymara and Spanish, saying: "Today begins a new era for the native peoples of the world."

Evo Morales greets indigenous supporters before the ceremony

A llama herder as a boy, Mr Morales is seen by the majority indigenous population as offering hope of a new equality.

Evo Morales in ceremonial tunic and four-cornered cap

He will be formally sworn in as Bolivia's elected president in front of world leaders in La Paz on Sunday.



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