On October 18, 2003, after bloody clashes in the streets of La Paz and El Alto that left over 50 people dead, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada submitted his resignation and, along with some of his ministers, left the country and took refuge in the United States. In the wake of these events, which included the involvement of the country’s Armed Forces and National Police, Congress accepted the president’s resignation and appointed Vice President Carlos Mesa Gisbert to take his place. The social upheaval that began on October 12 was directed against the export of liquefied natural gas to foreign markets through a Chilean port, in addition to other demands. It began with a general strike called by union organizations that covered a large part of the country, especially the cities of La Paz and El Alto. In these cities the mobilizations were on a massive scale. In the face of armed repression, labor and civic organizations, along with prominent individuals and neighborhood councils, demanded the president’s resignation. Several media outlets that editorially called on the president to resign were punished by the government. The newspaper El Diario of La Paz and the weekly publication Pulso, also published in La Paz, had copies of their October 14 and 15 editions seized. Also, the Televisión “A” network, Channel 36, stopped its all-day news programming when its facilities were taken over by the authorities and its broadcast interrupted. However, the channel was able to display messages denouncing the government for trying to silence some news outlets. According to accusations made by El Diario and Pulso executives, agents from the Interior Ministry seized the editions of both publications from newsstands and street vendors in La Paz. The alleged agents told the vendors they wanted to buy all the copies but did not pay them in full, or they just took the copies without paying at all. The National Press Association (ANP) expressed its “most emphatic protest over these attacks and threats on several media outlets.” The ANP also stated that “the seizure of El Diario’s edition of Wednesday, October 15 and the destruction of equipment at Radio Pío XII were heavy-handed actions that are unacceptable in a democracy, as were the attempts to take over the weekly Pulso and the warnings given to news anchors not to divulge information.”