Luis Fernando Camacho, the president of the Santa Cruz Civic Council, reportedly arrived in La Paz at 19:20 (local time) on Wednesday, November 6, to lead a march to demand the resignation of President Evo Morales. Supporters of the political opposition and President Morales gathered at El Alto Airport (LPB) amid high tensions. A detachment of police officers has been deployed to provide security for Camacho as he marches to the government palace to deliver a resignation letter to the president. Large crowds have been reported around the government palace and protesters have reportedly blocked Avenida Camacho and other major streets in La Paz. Clashes between rival political supporters and with security forces are possible in the coming hours and days. Significant traffic and business disruptions are also likely in La Paz.
Violent clashes also broke out in Cochabamba department between opposition and Morales supporters on Wednesday. At least 95 people were wounded as of 18:00, with the majority of injuries being reported in Quillacollo and Vinto. According to media reports, the mayor’s building in Vinto was set on fire and Mayor Patricia Arce was assaulted. Further violence is possible through Wednesday night and over the coming days as tensions remain high around the country.
A heightened security presence and associated disruptions are anticipated around all protest sites. Protests in La Paz and other parts of the country are expected to continue over the coming days.
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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