Bolivians to march against fuel price hike
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