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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 00:50 GMT 01:50 UK
Bolivia clashes kill five
by Elliott Gotkine
BBC South America correspondent

Bolivian soldier on alert after clashes with protesters
Bolivian troops moved in as food and fuel supplies run low

A further five people have been killed and more than 30 injured as violent protests against plans by the Bolivian government to export natural gas entered their third day.

Much of the violence - which earlier led to the death of a young boy - was centred in El Alto, some 12 kilometres (seven miles) from La Paz and home to the city's international airport.

La Paz is suffering food and fuel shortages because of roadblocks and strikes by protesters attempting to bring the country to a standstill.

Thousands of government troops and tanks fought pitched battles with protesters before taking control of El Alto on Sunday.

Nationalisation

Sixteen people have been killed in Bolivia since peasant farmers began the so-called "war for gas" almost a month ago.

The protesters fear proceeds from the gas will simply enrich foreign companies investing in the project - and what little their country earns will be frittered away or lost to corruption.

Crowds show bullet cases after clashes with troops in El Alto
Protesters are angry at the president and gas export plans
They are demanding the government nationalise the country's natural gas resources, saying they should be processed in Bolivia to make higher value products.

But President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's government says the gas issue has been hijacked by members of the opposition whose real agenda is to topple him.

Opposition leader Evo Morales does not deny he wants the president to step down - and has even hinted at removal by force if he refuses to resign.

The president says he has no intention of going anywhere.

But with food and fuel supplies to La Paz running low and the country's death toll mounting, analysts say Mr Sanchez de Lozada may soon find he has little choice.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Elliott Gotkine
"The situation appears to be getting worse"



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Bolivia clashes
13 Oct 03  |  Photo Gallery
Two killed in Bolivia clashes
12 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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