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Bolivian unions strike over austerity program

Bolivia's major labor unions launched a 72-hour general strike Monday against the government, closing banks, factories, universities, and public offices. The Labor Central, Bolivia's equivalent of the AFL-CIO, described the walkout as ''total.'' The government, however, said the strike was only partial.

It is the longest job action ever attempted against the government of President Hernan Siles Zuazo.

The unions are protesting a government austerity program that includes wage restraint, cutbacks on public spending, and drastic price increases for government-subsidized foodstuffs.

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