Bolivians calling for immediate elections

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have again taken to the streets of La Paz, calling for immediate elections one day after Bolivian President &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Carlos Mesa offered to resign.

Their weeks-old blockade has nearly paralyzed the capital of nearly two million residents, where gas stations are closed, supermarkets are empty and drinking water is scarce.

On Tuesday, riot police clashed downtown with miners, who detonated sticks of dynamite, but there were no reports of casualties, reports CNN News.

According to the Washington Times, for weeks, &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Bolivia has been paralyzed by demonstrations that blocked highways and caused food and fuel shortages.

The political opposition and indigenous groups are calling for the nationalization of all gas companies and demanding a constitutional assembly to give Indians more representation in the government.

They are also opposing a demand for greater autonomy by some gas-rich provinces in Bolivia's east.

Last month, Mr. Mesa -- hoping to quell the protests and violence -- approved a controversial bill that drastically increased taxes on foreign-owned oil and gas companies, even though he had repeatedly spoken out against such a move.

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