- Title: 'They're robbing democracy' -Bolivia's election sparks clashing protests
- Date: 22nd October 2019
- Summary: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA (OCTOBER 21, 2019) (REUTERS) WOMAN WITH HANDS RAISED IN FRONT OF POLICE WHO ARE GUARDING THE ENTRANCE TO HOTEL WHERE MEMBERS OF BOLIVIA'S SUPREME ELECTORAL COURT ARE HOLDING NEWS CONFERENCE POLICE SPRAYING PROTESTERS / PROTESTER RAMS POLICE OFFICER WITH OBJECT PEOPLE ON FOUNTAIN HOLDING BOLIVIAN FLAG POLICE OFFICER SPRAYS PERSON ON FOUNTAIN / PERSON FALLS DOWN PROTESTERS TRYING TO ENTER HOTEL PROTESTERS CHANTING (Spanish) "FRAUD" VARIOUS, PROTESTERS CHANTING (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REPRESENTATIVE OF 'CITIZEN COMMUNITY' OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTY, CARLOS ALARCON, SAYING: "This is a tragic day for Bolivian democracy. The candidate (President) Evo Morales has committed fraud, has once again usurped the sovereignty of the people. He has once again robbed the vote, the right to decide by our votes who will be president of Bolivia. And, it's obviously because the second round vote was going to go in favor of Carlos Mesa. So, once again they're robbing democracy, once again usurping the sovereignty of the people with crude and shameless fraud." SUPPORTERS OF PRESIDENT EVO MORALES AND OPPOSITION PROTESTERS FIGHTING PEOPLE CHANTING POLICE SPRAYING PROTESTERS LARGE CROWD OF OPPOSITION PROTESTERS PROTESTERS CHANTING (Spanish) "WE'RE THE MAJORITY" SUPPORTERS OF PRESIDENT EVO MORALES AND HIS MOVEMENT TO SOCIALISM (MAS) PARTY SUPPORTER HOLDING IMAGE OF MORALES CROWDS THROWING OBJECTS AT EACH OTHER POLICE WITH SPRAY OPPOSITION PROTESTERS BURNING FLAG OF MAS PARTY CROWDS OF PROTESTERS
- Embargoed: 5th November 2019 02:38
- Keywords: Movment to Socialism opposition Bolivia elections clash candidate President Evo Morales Supreme Electoral Court Carlos Mesa protest
- Location: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- City: LA PAZ, BOLIVIA
- Country: Bolivia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001B26HJRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS NOTE: AUDIO AS INCOMING IN SOUNDBITE
Fierce clashes broke out in the streets of La Paz on Monday (October 21) after Bolivia's electoral board (TSE) released new data showing President Evo Morales had enough votes to win his hotly contested election.
Thousands of Bolivians protested outside the hotel in La Paz where the TSE gathered to process votes, clashing with police and attempting to enter the building.
Elsewhere in La Paz, crowds of opposition protesters and Morales supporters faced off and clashed with fist fights. An opposition protester burned the flag of Morales' political party.
The controversy began when the electoral board halted a preliminary vote count late on Sunday (October 20) with results then showing the election going to a second round run-off. The abrupt pause has fuelled concerns among election monitors and foreign governments over potential vote tampering.
After the 24-hour gap, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) updated its count to show Morales with a wider lead of 46.85% of votes to rival Carlos Mesa's 36.73%, just enough to give him the 10-point lead needed to win in the first round.
Just a day earlier, the runner up candidate Carlos Mesa had celebrated making it to a second round after an official count of nearly 84% of ballots showed Morales short of the votes needed to avoid a run-off. Other polls also showed a tight race leading to a second round.
Morales, however, who has won his previous three terms with solid majorities, insisted late on Sunday that he would get enough votes from rural areas for an outright win.
The uncertainty sparked protests across the landlocked South American country and fears among international election observers and diplomats about potential manipulation of the vote, with some worried it could trigger the kind of violent unrest that has recently roiled Chile and Ecuador.
(Production: Santiago Limachi)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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