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Bolivian Bus Drivers Protest Fuel Price Hike

Soldiers help a woman get into a military truck during a public transportation strike in El Alto, 27 Dec 2010

Bus drivers in Bolivia have begun an "indefinite" strike to protest a sharp fuel price increase that went into effect on Sunday.

The government Monday sent army trucks out to the suburbs to help workers get to their jobs in the capital, La Paz.

The bus drivers are protesting a 73 percent increase in gasoline prices and an 83 percent increase in the cost of diesel fuel.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia, who is in charge of the government while President Evo Morales is on a visit to Venezuela, says the government is raising prices to encourage more fuel production in Bolivia. He also said the move is aimed at stopping the smuggling of cheap, subsidized fuel across Bolivian borders to other countries.

Fuel prices last rose in Bolivia more than five years ago.

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