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Fuel price increases protested

Fri., Dec. 31, 2010, midnight

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Protests against a sharp increase in fuel prices intensified and turned violent in Bolivia on Thursday, as thousands of demonstrators demanded President Evo Morales’ government repeal the hike.

Demonstrators filled the streets in La Paz and other cities to protest the higher prices, which were announced suddenly on Sunday. Gasoline prices immediately soared by 73 percent and diesel prices went up by 83 percent.

Some demanded the resignation of Morales. It has been the most unpopular measure of Morales’ five-year presidency.

Taxi drivers held a strike that largely paralyzed La Paz on Thursday, and protests were also held in the cities of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Potosi and Oruro.

The march in the capital began peacefully but clashes with police erupted when demonstrators tried to enter the main plaza where the government palace is located. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who hurled stones at officers.


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