Opposition supporters gathered in La Paz for a second consecutive night (local time) on Tuesday, October 22, to demand transparency in the results of the recent presidential election. Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police officers outside of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) headquarters. Protesters reportedly threw stones at officers, who responded with tear gas. Civil society groups are also calling for an indefinite general strike starting at 00:01 on Wednesday, October 23, to demand an investigation into suspected irregularities in the vote counting. Associated protests are anticipated in major cities across Bolivia, including in La Paz, Sucre, Santa Cruz, and Potosi. Supporters of President Evo Morales are also calling for rallies to defend the official results.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in the coming hours and days across La Paz and other major urban areas. Commercial and transportation disruptions are also anticipated around demonstration sites and during the general strike. Further clashes between security forces and rival protest groups cannot be ruled out.
The TSE halted its provisionary vote count on Sunday, 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 Monday, October 21, the TSE updated the count, indicating that President Evo Morales secured 46.85 percent of the vote against his primary rival Carlos Mesa, who received 36.73 percent, preventing a runoff. Political opposition supporters are accusing the TSE of manipulating the vote in favor of Morales.
Individuals in Bolivia are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid any protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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