Hundreds of people gathered in central La Paz on the night (local time) of Thursday, October 31, to demand the resignation of President Evo Morales. The rally started with a minute of silence for two protesters who were killed during demonstrations near Santa Cruz on Wednesday, October 30. Following the initial gathering, protesters attempted to break a police barricade around Murillo Square. According to media reports, clashes between demonstrators and police officers were ongoing as of 22:30. Police officers fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds. Clashes were reported on Ayacucho, Camacho Street, Mariscal Santa Cruz Avenue, and Potosí Street.
Further demonstrations are expected in La Paz and other parts of the country in the coming days. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions are anticipated around all protest sites. Violence between demonstrators and security forces or rival political supporters is also possible.
Tensions have been high in the country since 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 Bolivia more generally, 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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