Bolivia's President Carlos Mesa, in office just 17 months, has resigned after several days of anti-government protests.

President Mesa submitted his resignation to Bolivia's Congress Monday. He says he is leaving office because the protests threaten the country's oil and gas industry.

Congress could vote to keep Mr. Mesa in office, but if his request to step down is accepted, the leader of the Senate (President Hormando Vaca Diez) will take power.

Mr. Mesa, a political independent, became president under similar circumstances in October 2003, when a wave of violent protests drove out his predecessor Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

Landlocked Bolivia has been mired in civil disturbances for most of the past five years. Recent protests have blocked roads in the country and forced the government to deploy the military to maintain control of some oil fields.

Some information provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.