Bo­li­vians to march against fuel price hike

The Pak Banker - - I Nternational -

LA PAZ: Two pow­er­ful unions and civic groups an­nounced strikes and marches for Thurs­day to protest an 83per­cent hike on gaso­line prices that went into ef­fect over the week­end.

Pres­i­dent Evo Morales, faced with wide­spread com­plaints af­ter the gaso­line hike trig­gered rises in pub­lic trans­port fares and some sta­ples, quickly an­nounced a 20 per­cent min­i­mum salary in­crease in hopes to quell the un­rest.

"We've al­ready signed a supreme de­cree to in­crease the na­tional min­i­mum salary by 20 per­cent. Salary in­creases for the po­lice, armed forces, the health and ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor will also be 20 per­cent in 2011," Morales said in a na­tion­ally tele­vised ad­dress.

Morales also an­nounced eco­nomic im­prove­ments and in­cen­tives for farm­ers. Street protests against the gas price hike were re­ported Wed­nes­day in state cap­i­tals Oruro and Po­tosi. In El Alto, a city close to La Paz, irate demon­stra­tors blocked off some main roads.

Franklin Du­ran, head of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Driv­ers union rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try's bus driv­ers, called a na­tion­wide strike against the price hike and in de­mand of a 100 per­cent bus fare in­crease. The govern­ment has au­tho­rized a 30 per­cent in­crease. Work­ers in the An­dean min­ing cities of Oruro and Po­tosi will also strike on Thurs­day. -Afp

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