President Evo Morales denounced a so-called "coup d'etat" attempt in process against his government on Saturday, November 9, as some police forces showed sympathy with and joined opposition protests in La Paz. Uniformed police officers reportedly also joined opposition protests on Friday, November 8, in La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Sucre, Potosí, and Oruro. Despite weeks of anti-Morales protests, Bolivia's defense minister has claimed that no plans are in place to send military forces to quash the police-joined protests.
Demonstrations are expected to continue over the coming days despite the government's announcement on Friday, November 8, that an audit into the presidential election will be completed next week. According to Foreign Minister Diego Pary, the results should be ready by either Tuesday, November 12, or Wednesday, November 13. Notably, opposition civic leader Luis Fernando Camacho is reportedly planning to lead a protest march to the Palace of Government (Palacio Quemado) in La Paz on Monday, November 11.
A heightened security presence and associated disruptions to transportation and business are to be anticipated around all protest sites. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
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.
Individuals in La Paz and across Bolivia 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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