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Latin American throngs stage May Day protests

Thousands protested in May Day marches and rallies throughout Latin America Tuesday against military rule and government austerity measures. More than 20,000 protesters chanting anti-American slogans marched through Tegucigalpa in the largest Honduran protest march in recent years.

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Placards in the parade demanded the ouster of the United States military, which has some 1,700 troops in Honduras on a nearly permanent basis and thousands of others on special maneuvers.

Elsewhere, newspapers said up to 100,000 people gathered in a park in Santiago, Chile, where union activists demanded an immediate end to the 101/2 years of military rule by President Augusto Pinochet. Riot police battled stone-throwing youths with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon.

In Brazil, thousands attended rallies in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro where speakers repeated popular demands for direct presidential elections now.

Some 80,000 Bolivian workers, most taking part in a 72-hour general strike, marched through the streets of La Paz, demanding an end to the government's austerity program, which they said was imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and US imperialism.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, leftist and moderate unions joined ranks for the first time in 14 years to protest IMF demands that the government impose new austerity measures before receiving further aid.

In Montevideo, Uruguay, the banned Workers Confederation gathered 300,000 people protesting government policies. It was one of the biggest rallies in a decade in Uruguay, where military rule is due to end in November with scheduled elections.

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