On Wednesday, October 23, President Evo Morales declared a state of emergency, stating that the opposition group's international backing is an attack on his presidency.
Further, civil groups have called for the start of an indefinite civic strike across Bolivia on Wednesday, following election irregularities and a wave of protests against the president. The public is protesting an ongoing election dispute in which President Evo Morales, who ran for a fourth term on Sunday, October 20, has claimed himself the winner. Irregularities were reported, particularly when the Supreme Electoral Tribunal reported an incomplete electoral count on Monday, October 21. Protests have been ongoing in La Paz since. The public has called for a vote recount and have threatened to not recognize Morales as the president.
In addition to the civic strike, pro-government protests are planned on the same date, which raises the likelihood of clashes, both among protesters and between protesters and police.
Protest locations may be city-wide, though some have been reported near the Supreme Electoral Tribunal's headquarters. Protests are also ongoing in Santa Cruz, an area that produces 70 percent of the country's food supply. Due to this, there are concerns that protests will present an economic shock to the country if they continue.
Significant transportation and business disruptions were reported in La Paz as residents, anticipating a protracted political crisis and associated unrest, lined up at markets and gas stations to stockpile basic necessities.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in the coming hours and days across La Paz and other major urban areas. Further protests are possible - particularly in and around the capital. Clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
The TSE halted its provisionary vote count on Sunday, October 20, after 83 percent of the ballot was completed. Initial results indicated that President Evo Morales was short of securing the 10-percentage point lead needed to prevent a runoff election. However, on Monday, October 21, the TSE updated the count, indicating that President Evo Morales secured 46.85 percent of the vote against his primary rival Carlos Mesa, who received 36.73 percent, preventing a runoff. 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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