As of 10 am Saturday morning Bolivia was declared under martial law
by President Hugo Banzer.  The drastic move comes at the end of a week of
protests, general strikes, and transportation blockages that have left
major areas of the country at a virtual standstill.  It also follows, by
just hours, the surprise announcement by state officials yesterday
afternoon that the government would concede to the protests' main
demands, to break a widely-despised contract under which the city 
of Cochabamba's public water system was sold off to foreign investors last 
year.  The concession was quickly reversed by the national government, and 
the local governor resigned, explaining that he didn't want to take
for bloodshed that might result.

   Banzer, who ruled Bolivia as a dictator from 1971-78, has taken an
action that suspends almost all civil rights, disallows gatherings of
more than four people and puts severe limits on freedom of the press.  One
after another, local radio stations have been taken over by military
forces or forced off the air.  Reporters have  been arrested The
neighborhood where most of the city's broadcast antennas are located had
its power shut off at approximately noon local time.  Through the night
police searched homes for members of the widely-backed water protests,
arresting as many as twenty.   The local police chief has been instated by 
the President as governor of the state. Blockades erected by farmers in
areas continue across the country, cutting off some cities from food and 
transportation.  Large crowds of angry residents, many armed with sticks and

rocks are massing on the city's center where confrontations with military
police are escalating.

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