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Bolivia's Morales halts Amazon road after protests

Source:  Copyright 2011, Reuters
Date:  September 27, 2011
Byline:  Carlos Alberto Quiroga
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Bolivian President Evo Morales halted work on a highway being built in the Amazon on Monday, seeking to ease tensions after a month-long protest march and a police crack down on demonstrators.

The leftist president said work on the 185-mile highway would not be resumed unless it was approved in a referendum in the two provinces it was to link.

"There needs to be national debate so the two provinces benefited or involved in this can decide. ... In the meantime, the project is suspended," said Morales, criticizing the violence used by police to disperse marchers over the weekend.

Police fired tear gas and detained protesters when they raided an encampment in the Yucumo, region 185 miles north of La Paz late on Sunday, local media said.

Several people were reported to have suffered minor injuries and the raid was criticized by opposition leaders, the ombudsman and several government officials including Defense Minister Cecilia ...

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