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Protests intensify in Bolivia over gasoline prices

 A man rides a bicycle past a car burned during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested against a ...
 Firefighters inspect debris from a tollbooth burned during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People proteste...
 People walk past a car set on fire during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested against a 73 pe...
 People, one waving a Bolivian flag, demonstrate during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested ag...

Bolivia Gasoline

A man rides a bicycle past a car burned during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested against a ...

Bolivia Gasoline

Firefighters inspect debris from a tollbooth burned during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People proteste...

Bolivia Gasoline

People walk past a car set on fire during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested against a 73 pe...

Bolivia Gasoline

People, one waving a Bolivian flag, demonstrate during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Thursday, Dec. 30. 2010. People protested ag...

Protests intensified in Bolivia on Thursday against a sharp increase in fuel prices imposed by President Evo Morales' government.
Thousands of demonstrators marched in La Paz and other cities, calling for the price hikes to be repealed. Some demanded Morales' resignation.
The higher prices were announced suddenly on Sunday, and it has been the most unpopular measure of Morales' five-year presidency. It led to an immediate 73 percent jump in gasoline prices and an 83 percent rise in prices for diesel _ and also prompted rapid increases in transport and food prices in the Andean country.
Taxi drivers held a strike that largely paralyzed La Paz on Thursday to denounce the higher prices, and protests were also held in the cities of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and Oruro.
Demonstrators set afire a car and a tollbooth on Thursday in the city of El Alto, neighboring La Paz. People lined a bridge while protesters raised fists demanding the measure be repealed.
Fuel prices had been frozen for six years, but the government said it could no longer afford to subsidize them, especially since much is smuggled across the border to neighboring countries.
Responding to the protests, Morales' government has announced steps aimed at mitigating the economic effects _ including 20 percent salary increases for public workers aimed at offsetting higher fuel prices. The government also announced new assistance to rice, corn and wheat farmers intended to increase production and bring down prices.
Demonstrators have called their protest the "gasolinazo."
Neighborhood protest leader Claudio Luna said in La Paz that the government's "message hasn't met the expectations of the population, and for that reason we're going to continue the protests." He said demonstrators want prices lowered back to their former levels.
Bus drivers have also held sporadic protests this week, demanding the government further increase fares. Authorities ordered raises of 60 to 80 percent in public transport fares, but bus drivers argue that isn't enough to offset the higher costs.
Food prices have also risen 15 percent in subsidized government markets, but that remained much less than in private supermarkets. People seeking bargains lined up at a state-run food store in La Paz on Thursday.
Morales, meanwhile, said in a news conference that he is inviting advisers from Paraguay's government to help formulate additional measures to lessen the blow of eliminating fuel subsidies.


Updated : 2021-08-05 00:49 GMT+08:00