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20 Feb 2020 | 07:09 AM UTC

Dominican Republic: Protests continue in Santo Domingo, Santiago February 19 /update 3

Protests continue following electronic glitch in Santo Domingo, Santiago February 19; heightened security presence expected to continue

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Event

On Wednesday, February 19, protesters gathered again in Santo Domingo and Santiago to continue calling for leaders of the Central Electoral Union (JCE) to step down. Several hundred participants in Santo Domingo gathered at 15:00 (local time) in Plaza de la Bandera through to the Constitutional Tribunal. Several groups gathered in multiple locations across Santiago, including on main roadways, causing transportation disruptions. Other related protests were also reported in Puerto Plata. Wednesday's protests were the best attended since the situation emerged on Sunday, February 16.

Protests are largely expected to continue in the afternoon on Thursday, February 20, in Santo Domingo's Plaza de la Bandera and in Santiago near the provincial government offices. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions should be expected in the vicinity of all gatherings. Related demonstrations will likely continue over the coming days and remain possible in other urban centers across the country.

Context

Municipal elections were held on February 16, in which several polling centers operating electronic ballots reported glitches. Following these reports, several protests were reported in cities across the country as a response to the glitches, seen as election rigging by the leading party, the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). The electronic system was used in just 18 of the 158 municipalities - areas with high population density. The Central Electoral Union (JCE) subsequently suspended the elections and called for a new vote on March 15.

Advice

Individuals in Dominican Republic are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media.