Bolivians protest as crisis worsens
Tuesday 18 February 2003
Thousands of Bolivians took to the streets yesterday calling for President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada to resign and denouncing the government's handling of a deepening economic crisis.
A long column of peasants, farmers and unionists descended on the downtown Plaza San Francisco, shouting anti-government slogans and decrying the military's use of force during last week's riots triggered by an unpopular tax plan. "The president must resign!" and "Long live the Bolivian worker!" they chanted. Shopkeepers protected their storefronts, fearing a repeat of the looting that engulfed La Paz last Wednesday.
Last week's disturbances began when 7,000 police officers seeking a 40 per cent pay rise walked out to protest a government plan for a new tax to reduce the budget deficit, as required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for new funds.
Clashes between government troops and the strikers left 22 people dead and more than 100 injured. Looters ransacked dozens of businesses and torched at least 13 government buildings.
No violence was reported yesterday, the same day as a a nationwide general strike called by leaders of Bolivia's largest workers' union. The strike appeared to have only a limited effect as most businesses remained open.
Juan Melendez Perez, a union leader, led 3,000 demonstrators and called on the government to ignore the IMF's demand for spending cuts. "If the president wants to adhere to those policies, then he must go," he said.
Meanwhile, Sanchez de Lozada met with his top aides over ways to cut government spending. Among the proposals was a reduction in the number of Cabinet positions and a tightening of staff expenses. On Sunday, Sanchez de Lozada, 72, said he would not accept his salary for the remainder of his time in office.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Java Developer...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Ilford: School Office/ Finance Assistant Long t...