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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 04:46 GMT 05:46 UK
Two killed in Bolivia clashes
Protesters shout slogans against the Bolivian government on a road blockade near a gas plant in El Alto
Protesters have been calling for the president's resignation

A five-year-old boy is among at least two dead in violent clashes between police and demonstrators in Bolivia over government plans to export gas through Chile.

The child was killed when army troops and police opened fire on demonstrators in El Alto, 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the main city La Paz.

Ten people have died and dozens injured in three weeks of anti-government protests led by trade unions and coca growers.

They are against plans to build a pipeline to carry natural gas to the Pacific Ocean through Chile and are also demanding the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

Bolivia is suffering increasing food and oil shortages because protesters have blocked key roads across the country.

Witnesses said Saturday's clashes in El Alto - suffering its second day of violence - broke out after police and soldiers tried to disperse crowds of looters.

Hospitalised

A court prosecutor, Jimmy Pareja, was quoted by Associated Press as saying a police officer was killed by protesters.

Witnesses told local radio a young boy was killed, and hospital officials said a man brought in with a gunshot wound to the head was not expected to survive.

The city - with a population of 750,000 - has been nearly shut down by the strikes.

Government officials propose constructing a pipeline to export natural gas, which they say would generate $1.5bn for what is South America's poorest nation.

But demonstrators are angry at plans to ship it out via Chile, which took Bolivia's only access to the sea in a war more than a century ago.

They also say laws governing the export of natural gas should be changed to ensure more of the profits stay in the country.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Lisa Hampele
"Witnesses accuse the security authorities of shooting at demonstrators"



SEE ALSO:
Two die in Bolivia protests
10 Oct 03  |  Americas
Unrest rocks Bolivia
01 Oct 03  |  Americas
Bolivian village under siege
24 Sep 03  |  Americas
Bolivia gas plans trigger unrest
16 Sep 03  |  Americas
IMF grants loan to Bolivia
03 Apr 03  |  Business
Country profile: Bolivia
06 Sep 03  |  Country profiles


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