Pro-government groups have announced plans to hold a series of marches beginning on Friday, October 13, to support a bid by President Evo Morales to remove presidential term limits, thereby allowing him to run for a fourth term in 2019. Protesters will gather on Friday in the city of Santa Cruz at the Plaza del Estudiante before marching to Plaza 24 de Septiembre. Further protests, both for and against the president, are likely in the coming weeks and months.
Morales’s Movement to Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo; MAS) party has asked the country’s Plurinational Constitutional Court to rescind the term limit currently in place. The court has until December to make a decision. The party had previously attempted to remove the limit via a referendum held in 2016, when the proposal was narrowly rejected with 51 percent of participants voting “no.” Anti-Morales protesters gathered in La Paz, Santa Cruz, Tarija, and Cochabamba on October 10 to denounce the move.
Protests are common in Bolivia and even non-violent protests can be highly disruptive. Civic groups and unions frequently erect roadblocks as a form of protest, both in cities and on highways. The country's mountainous terrain means few roads connect major cities and therefore roadblocks serve as especially effective bargaining tools in negotiations.
Individuals present in Bolivia are advised to keep abreast of the situation, avoid all protests as a precaution, and never attempt to cross a roadblock without authorization due to the potential for violence.