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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.

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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.