The protests have taken over the city centre and have fallen into the routine of starting in the main square each morning, before police drive the protestors up to higher ground each afternoon.
The majority of protestors act peacefully, but gather in such overwhelming numbers that the police disperse them with tear gas. (By the way, the affects of tear gas are unpleasant, but not serious. Both Amy and I have been caught in a few clouds of the stuff now and it burns the nostrils, eyes and throat but wears off the minute you get to fresh air. There's more tear gas info on How Stuff Works.com).
We've been grateful for the kindness of the public here. Earlier today we were walking to a flight office and were caught in a crowd fleeing the square to escape the police. Protesters stopped to ask if we were ok, offering us boiled sweets (if needed, they apparently suppress the affects of the gas) and advised us on the best way to get back to our hotel.
Today, shop owners asked if we'd like to shelter in their buildings in case there was more gas released. The police appear to only be armed with tear gas and batons, and no serious injuries have been reported since the protests began weeks ago.
The demonstrations are destroying business in the city. The black market was bustling when we were here last month, but today only a few stalls were open. One hotel receptionist told us that only two tourists were staying at her four-storey hotel. There are no cars on the streets and people play football on the normally-congested main avenue. Restaurants are running out of food and a Bolivian friend we've made told us that the price of eggs in his neighbourhood has risen from 0.20 Boliviano's to 2 Boliviano's.
We're hoping to fly to Peru on Thursday, but many of the airlines are suffering from a fuel shortage because protestors have built blockades on all of the city's access roads. If not, we'll fly on Saturday with LAB airlines, who don't appear to have been affected by the shortage. Who knows - perhaps everything will be back to normal by then. More tomorrow.