There'll be a one day general strike in Bolivia next week in protest at the government's new economic policy.
LV/CU People in streets of La Paz with policemen watching (3 shots)
LV/SV Closed and shuttered shops (3 shots)
SV PAN Deserted market area
SV/CU PAN Damaged walls of police station (2 shots)
SV Policemen in street checking vehicles
SV/CU Broken windows (2 shots)
LV People waiting outside bus station
LV PAN Strike slogans painted on shop fronts
SV/CU Security forces directing people to lorries (4 shots)
LV Lorry loaded with people driving away
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Background: There'll be a one day general strike in Bolivia next week in protest at the government's new economic policy. The strike call followed widespread street demonstrations as workers reacted angrily to news of higher fuel and transport coast.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstrations erupted on Tuesday (4 December). In the capital, La Paz, shops and buses were stoned and police stations attacked. Even after the demonstrators left the streets most shops remained closed. The protests were sparked by the government's economic clamp down. Claiming that Bolivia is nearly bankrupt, interim President Lidia Gueiler has devalued the peso raised fuel prices by one-hundred-and-thirty per cent and frozen the price of basic foodstuffs. The government also raised wages for the lower paid workers but union leaders claimed this was largely offset by the rise in transport costs. And peasants who'd been demanding higher prices for their produce joined the protests by blockading market districts.
This police station was one of the targets for the demonstrators. Much of it was reduced to rubble as angry workers went on a looting spree through the city. At least one person was killed and a number of others injured in the demonstrations.
Similar protests were held in other cities and in La Paz the union campaign was backed up with a transport strike. As the situation worsened the government relented and announced that public transport costs would be lowered. However, it made little difference. Despite a lengthy meeting between the government and trade union leaders, next week's strike will go ahead as planned.