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Last tourists leave Potosi after three-week strike ends

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-17

Bolivian miners and the government have negotiated an end to a crippling 19-day strike that had cut off the central Bolivian city of Potosi stranding scores of foreign tourists, most of whom had managed to leave the city by Sunday.

AFP - A general strike that paralyzed the Andean mining city of Potosi for 19 days, stranding scores of foreign tourists, ended Monday after a deal was reached with the government, protest leaders said.  

"We gave instructions for the road blocks and hunger strikes to be lifted," strike leader Celestino Condori announced to his cheering followers in the southern city of 160,000.
  
At its height, thousands of protesters blocked all road, rail and air access to Potosi, some 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level, leaving thousands including about 100 foreign tourists stranded. Most had managed to leave by Sunday.
  
More than 1,000 protesters also went on a hunger strike to drive home their demand for more government investment in their impoverished highland province of Potosi.
  
Over the past three days, protest leaders and government officials negotiated a six-point agreement in Sucre, 150 kilometres (94 miles) to the north of Potosi city. The agreement was approved Monday by strike leaders, ending the protest.
  
Despite dynamite-toting strikers manning roadblocks, the general strike was largely peaceful, with only one miner losing his hand to an exploding stick of dynamite during clashes with frustrated motorists on a blocked road to La Paz on Saturday.
  
The six-point agreement addresses the protesters' chief concerns which include properly defining the provincial border with Oruro, building a cement factory and a new international airport, restarting a zinc-and-silver mine and preserving Cerro Rico, a mountain that was heavily mined for silver during Spain's colonial rule.

 

Date created : 2010-08-17

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