Three people were killed and forty five injured in a grenade and gunfire attack on a left-wing rally in the Bolivian capital La Paz on Thursday (26 June) as campaigning in the country's general election ended.
GV PAN EXTERIOR Plaza San Francisco in La Paz, Bolivia Thousands of chanting party supporters with MNR banners.
GV Supporters singing and dancing to music. (2 shots)
GV Supporters with red MNR banners.
GV More supporters singing to music in the square
SV MNR banner.
Supporters chanting Victor Paz Estenssoro, MNR candidate and his colleagues restraining supporters from platform.
CU Mr Estenssoro speaking and crowd applauding (2 shots)
SV Police arriving
SV and GV Police use dogs to keep crowd back.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Three people were killed and forty five injured in a grenade and gunfire attack on a left-wing rally in the Bolivian capital La Paz on Thursday (26 June) as campaigning in the country's general election ended. The attack caused a wave of disturbances in working-class districts of the capital. it followed a similarly violent rally in the centre of La Paz the previous night.
SYNOPSIS: On Wednesday there were ugly scenes at La Paz's Plaza San Francisco during a rally for Nationalist Revolutionary Movement (MNR) candidate Victor Paz Estenssoro.
It started peacefully with supporters singing and dancing but later in the night heavy fighting between MNR and socialist supporters broke out.
Sunday's (29 June) elections come after a tense period in which critics of the military said a coup was being planned to prevent the country proceeding on the path to democracy. Bolivia had a record one-hundred-and-eighty-eight coups in one-hundred-and-fifty-four-years, but has been moving slowly with United States encouragement towards constitutional government.
Victor Estenssoro is expected to be one of the frontrunners in the election. His party's main competition is expected to come from the powerful left-wing Popular Democratic Union coalition. The elections are the third attempt since Bolivia ended twelve years of dictatorship in 1978, to elect a civilian government.
The military, who attempted a coup d'etat from Santa Cruz earlier this month are likely to be unhappy if the Popular Democratic Union wins. Nearly two million voters go to the polls on Sunday with little prospect of securing a stable democratic government. In last year's election the popular vote was divided and no one secured the required absolute majority.
Rallies during the campaigns have been marred by fighting. On wednesday police moved in with dogs after violence in which three men were seriously injured.
Opinion polls have the two main parties running neck and neck with the right-wing Nationalist Democratic Alliance a distant third. Concern remains that the military simply has postponed plans to stage a coup until after the elections. There are few voters in this impoverished South American country who believe a strong civilian government will emerge next week.