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Seeking Autonomy, Bolivian Protesters Win Concessions


Tens of thousands of protesters calling for greater autonomy for Bolivia's largest province have won two major concessions from the government.

After weeks of protests in the resource-rich Santa Cruz province, President Carlos Mesa Friday agreed to allow the province to elect its own leaders and hold a referendum on its autonomy. Mr. Mesa recently agreed to scale back fuel price increases.

The Santa Cruz province has been the scene of demonstrations, strikes and blockades since the government's decision earlier this month to raise the fuel prices by as much as 23 percent.

The province is home to a quarter of the country's eight million people and nearly a third of its economic output.

The protesters say their region's contributions should be recognized with more local autonomy.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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