Political opposition supporters took to the streets across Bolivia on the night (local time) of Monday, October 21, after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) released updated results from the presidential election. According to the recently released figures, President Evo Morales secured 46.85 percent of the vote against his primary rival Carlos Mesa, who received 36.73 percent, which prevents a runoff. Demonstrators burned TSE offices in Sucre and Potosi, as well as ballots in Tarija. Opposition and government supporters also reportedly clashed with one another in several cities, including the capital La Paz. Additional protests are likely over the coming hours and days as Mesa has rejected the results.
Earlier on Monday, thousands of people gathered in La Paz to wait for the TSE to release the updated results. Police officers eventually fired tear gas to disperse the crowds. Clashes were also reported at other protests in the city. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all demonstrations.
The TSE halted its provisionary vote count on Sunday, October 20, after 83 percent of the ballot was completed. Initial results indicated that Morales was short of securing the 10-percentage point lead needed to prevent a runoff election. Political opposition supporters are accusing the TSE of manipulating the vote in favor of Morales.
Individuals in Bolivia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid any protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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