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Bolivian Opposition Protesters Storm Buildings


Demonstrators in eastern Bolivia clashed with police and broke into government offices on Tuesday, as protests escalated against President Evo Morales' planned economic reforms.

Mobs in Santa Cruz raided the state-run telecommunications company, the tax agency, and the state-run television station. Video footage showed the protesters kicking down doors, entering offices, and smashing property.

Riot police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, who fought back. It was not immediately clear how many were injured.

In the southern city of Villamontes, demonstrators tried to seize control of a key gas plant. Officials said protesters failed to disrupt the gas flow from Bolivia to Brazil.

Opposition groups in Bolivia's oil-rich eastern provinces began a series of large-scale demonstrations last month, to protest Mr. Morales' plans to redistribute natural gas revenues to the poor.

The president's critics are also concerned about his plans to write a new constitution. They say Mr. Morales leans too far to the left and is allied too closely with Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez.

Mr. Morales denounced Tuesday's violence as a "civic coup."


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.



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