01 June 2005
Bolivian riot police guarded the congressional building in La Paz Tuesday as thousands of demonstrators gathered in the latest protest to demand the nationalization of the energy sector.
The protesters massed outside Congress, blocking legislators' access to the building. Elsewhere in the capital, police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators, some of whom set off dynamite.
Groups of miners, peasants and leftist activists have demonstrated for months, demanding a series of economic measures including the full nationalization of the oil and gas industries.
Bolivia's Congress recently passed a bill to increase taxes on foreign oil companies.
The measure calls for the companies to pay a 32 percent tax on their oil production in addition to an 18 percent royalty tax they already pay. Opponents say the law is not strong enough.