Former Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on Sunday, January 20, that his Movement To Socialism (MAS) party has chosen Luis Arce as their presidential candidate ahead of the general elections scheduled on Sunday, May 3. Protests and counterprotests are anticipated nationwide in the weeks leading up to the elections.
Leaders of the MAS party have called for demonstrations on Wednesday, January 22, during Plurinational State Day to show their support for former President Morales and to oppose the administration of Interim President Jeanine Áñez. Defense Minister Fernando López announced on Thursday, January 16, that joint military-police patrols have been deployed into La Paz, El Alto, and other major cities to provide security during upcoming protests. According to López, the increased security patrols are intended to maintain peace and will end on Friday, January 24.
Heightened security measures and an increased security presence are anticipated in La Paz, El Alto, and other major cities and near any potential protest sites over the coming days. Associated transportation and business disruptions are also possible if demonstrations occur. Clashes between rival political supporters or with security forces cannot be ruled out.
Plurinational State Day was established as a public holiday in 2010 by Former President Evo Morales to celebrate the adoption of a new constitution and change in the name of the country.
Former President Morales resigned on November 10 following weeks of protests organized by opposition political organizations. The TSE was accused of manipulating the results of the October 20 election in favor of Morales to prevent a runoff, sparking an escalation in demonstrations nationwide. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes with security forces or between rival political supporters.
Individuals in Bolivia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all gatherings as a precaution, anticipate localized disruptions, and adhere to all instructions by local authorities and their home governments.