Bolivian health workers have embarked on a hunger strike in a bid to intensify their two-week old national action for higher wages.
GV Church in La Paz
SV PAN FROM Sign on church exterior wall TO people outside entrance
GV INTERIOR People seated in La Recoleta church (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Altar TO people seated on floor near the altar
GV PULL BACK People seated on floor holding placard demanding 'more humane salary'
SV PULL BACK Women and children huddled together (5 shots)
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Background: Bolivian health workers have embarked on a hunger strike in a bid to intensify their two-week old national action for higher wages. On May 13, after a 96-hour fast, several hundred workers and their families were still continuing their occupation of the capital's churches. Huddled in blankets or holding placards demanding a living wage, strikers in La Recoleta and other churches in La Paz vowed to fast until the bitter end if necessary. They have also warned that emergency services, still operating in state-run hospitals, will be suspended unless the government meets workers' demands promptly. Under heavy pressure from trade unions and political parties, Bolivia's President Celso Torrelio has made a few concessions. Constituent assembly elections, initially promised for 1984, have been brought forward to August 1983. But, faced with criticism in the armed forces, General Torrelio has made it clear that tough measures will be taken to prevent 'chaos and anarchy'. This, together with recent price increases, has caused increasing unrest throughout Bolivia.