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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 11:04 GMT
Clashes as Bolivia miners protest
Miners lighting sticks of dynamite

More than 20,000 miners have marched into the Bolivian city of La Paz, throwing dynamite on their way, to protest against a proposed tax rise.

Parts of La Paz were paralysed by the blasts and clashes between miners and passers-by. Police said they had seized more than 270 sticks of dynamite.

The miners say the tax would be unfair on small independent co-operatives.

The march went ahead despite a government announcement on Monday that co-operatives' taxes would be frozen.

Officials said the tax increase would be directed at larger private mining companies.

Bolivia's mineral exports were worth more than $1bn (507m) last year, but the government says it only collected $45.5m in taxes from the mining sector. It is hoping to recoup $80m in mining taxes.

Some 50,000 miners are members of co-operatives. Last year, a group of them were involved in deadly clashes with miners from the state sector over control of a tin mine.

President Evo Morales has said he plans to nationalise the country's mining sector.

Workers march through the streets of La Paz

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