Demonstrations triggered by a disputed presidential election continued for a ninth consecutive day in La Paz and other major urban centers on Tuesday, October 29. Significant transportation and business disruptions were reported in La Paz as opposition protesters erected barricades and blocked roads, prompting riot police to fire tear gas in several locations. Counterdemonstrations in support of President Evo Morales were also held. Morales has called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to audit the election, adding that a run-off would be held should evidence of fraud be found.
Tuesday's demonstrations come one day after violent clashes between supporters and opponents of Morales took place in Santa Cruz. Authorities said 30 people were wounded, including five by gunshots, in the skirmishes. An investigation into the incident is underway as of Tuesday afternoon (local time).
A heightened security presence is to be expected over the coming days across La Paz and other major urban areas. Further pro- and anti-Morales demonstrations are likely, particularly in and around the capital, and clashes between the rival groups cannot be ruled out. Disruptions to transportation and business are to be anticipated in protest- and strike-affected areas.
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia (TSE) halted its provisionary vote count on 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 October 21, the TSE updated the count, indicating that President Evo Morales secured 47.08 percent of the vote against his primary rival Carlos Mesa, who received 35.51 percent, preventing a runoff. Political opposition supporters are accusing the TSE of manipulating the vote in favor of Morales. The protests have already left 30 injured in the violence and constant clashes with police.
Individuals in La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in demonstration- and strike-affected areas, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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