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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 22:13 GMT
Bolivians demand leader's resignation
Thousands of Bolivians march through the streets of La Paz
A long column of protesters descended on La Paz
Several thousand people in Bolivia have taken part in a peaceful protest in the country's main city, La Paz, to call for the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

The president must resign! Long live the Bolivian worker

Protesters' chants

A long column of peasants, farmers and unionists descended on the Plaza San Francisco in the centre of the city, shouting anti-government slogans and decrying the military's use of force during last week's deadly riots.

The violence left at least 23 people dead and more than 100 injured, in unrest which followed government proposals to raise income tax.

No violence was reported during Monday's march, which coincided with a nationwide general strike called by leaders of Bolivia's largest workers union.

Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada
The president promised to cut down on spending

The strike appeared to have only a limited effect as most businesses were open.

The government only defused last week's crisis by cancelling plans to raise income tax and awarding police a hefty pay rise.

The president also promised to sharply reduce the size of the government bureaucracy and pledged to forsake his salary for the remainder of his time in office.

"Fewer ministries, fewer deputy ministries and management offices, less spending on cellular phones and vehicles, because obviously we have to lead by example," the president said in televised remarks late on Sunday.

Mr Sanchez de Lozada, 72, took office last August, after winning office with only 22% of the vote.

See also:

14 Feb 03 | Americas
08 Aug 02 | Business
05 Aug 02 | Americas
03 Dec 02 | Country profiles
03 Dec 02 | Americas
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