May 8 - Transport drivers' strike paralyses Bolivian cities. Sarah Sheffer reports.
A transportation workers' strike is causing chaos across Bolivia, as protests hit both government and opposition forces. Demonstrators have blocked the main streets of La Paz since early Monday morning. The workers are protesting plans by the local government, led by an opposition mayor, to take control of the transport sector and impose more order in the car-packed streets. The strike is set to last for two days, however protesters say it could go on indefinitely if authorities don't back down. Transportation leader Ilarion Quispe said the problems were ongoing. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ILARION QUISPE, TRANSPORTATION LEADER, SAYING: "Mass transit is not part of the topography of the city of La Paz because, in this city, there's no freedom. Every day, there are conflicts and we have to bear this kind of conflict." Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera told the activists to abandon their strike for the sake of their country. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ALVARO GARCIA LINERA, BOLIVIAN VICE-PRESIDENT, SAYING: "We call on the leaders to leave behind their political attitude, to leave behind their criminal attitude, to leave behind their abusive attitude, to leave behind their capricious attitude and return to work. Go to work; Bolivia needs you! Go to work! Go cure the sick! " Schools and universities were closed, while public and private companies said they would be lenient with employees who have difficulties getting into work. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters