Supported by armoured cars, heavily-armed troops of the Bolivian Army patrolled the streets of La Paz on Thursday (23 Nov) to prevent trouble spreading from the industrial district where the capital's textile workers were on strike.
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Background: Supported by armoured cars, heavily-armed troops of the Bolivian Army patrolled the streets of La Paz on Thursday (23 Nov) to prevent trouble spreading from the industrial district where the capital's textile workers were on strike.
The troops were enforcing the "State of Siege" which President Hugo Banzer had announced earlier in the day after the strike was called. This measure suspended some constitutional rights and banned all rallies and demonstrations.
The 24-hour strike involved textile workers, and was called to protest against what the trade union leaders described as 'government provocation'. Earlier, Bolivian Interior Minister Mario Adett Zamora had claimed that extremists had infiltrated the labour union movement to provoke a confrontation against the government.
As both strike and "State of Siege" got underway on Thursday morning, workers claimed that army units had arrested a number of labour union leaders in pre-dawn raids. The following day (Friday 24th November) 25,000 bank and commercial workers joined the strike, saying that they would return to work only after the release of the labour leaders.
Latest reports from La paz say that the city has now returned to normal. The union leaders were released late on Friday night, the strike was called off and the army withdrawn.