Bolivians torched a Che Guevara Statue and Venezuelan flag on Thursday after the Marxist Morales government increased gas prices by 73% this week.
Demonstrators shout slogans in front of a bonfire during a protest against fuel hikes in El Alto, Bolivia, Wednesday, Dec. 29. 2010. People were protesting a 73 percent jump in gasoline prices and 83 percent rise in the price of diesel. (AP /Juan Karita)
The Real Cuba reported:
Protests against a sharp increase in fuel prices intensified and turned violent in Bolivia on Thursday, as thousands of demonstrators demanded President Evo Morales’ government repeal the hike.
Demonstrators filled the streets in La Paz and other cities to protest the higher prices, which were announced suddenly on Sunday. Gasoline prices immediately soared by 73 percent and diesel prices went up by 83 percent, leading to a rapid increases in transport and food prices in the Andean country.
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Some demanded the resignation of Morales, a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. It has been the most unpopular measure of Morales’ five-year presidency.
Spanish news agency EFE reported that protesters in La Paz burned a Venezuelan flag and in the town of El Alto they set fire to a statue of Argentinean mass murderer Che Guevara.
Taxi drivers held a strike that largely paralyzed La Paz on Thursday, and protests were also held in the cities of Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Potosi and Oruro.
The march in the capital began peacefully but clashes with police erupted when demonstrators tried to enter the main plaza where the government palace is located. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who hurled stones at officers, the vice presidential office, a union headquarters and two ministry buildings.