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Bolivia protests stall traffic

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Traffic in Bolivias largest city has been brought to a standstill due to major protests on the countrys highways.

Streets in the La Paz city centre were blocked by tens of thousands of protestors on Wednesday as a response to the governments plans to build a highway that would traverse a protected portion of pristine Amazon rainforest.

Many of the indigenous demonstrators are concerned that the highway would prompt illegal settlements in the region. But meanwhile government officials have said a link between remote communities and market towns is an essential move for the countrys development.

Major protests began on Wednesday as the largest labour union in the country called for a day of action. Thousands of demonstrators subsequently marched through the streets, blocking traffic, shouting slogans and displaying signs critical of President Evo Morales and the current government.

The news comes after protestors clashed with police at the weekend, but unions and indigenous groups said the action would continue on Thursday.

Demonstrators said on Sunday that police authorities had used extreme violence and tear gas, following which Defence Minister Cecilia Chacon resigned, despite denying ordering any use of force on the protestors. However, she defended calling on police to break up the protests.