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Bolivia declares a state of siege

Bolivian President Evo Morales decreed a state of siege and sent troops Friday to an eastern province where at least eight people were killed in street battles between pro- and anti-government activists.

Troops took control of the airport in Cobija, the capital of Pando province, and fired shots to disperse protesters. Opposition Sen. Ronal Camargo and Fides radio reported one person was killed and several wounded. But that information was not confirmed by Defense Minister Walker San Miguel.

The declaration of a state of siege came hours after Morales and opposition governors from four eastern provinces that are in open revolt against him agreed to talks on ending the crisis.

Anti-government protesters fought backers of President Evo Morales with clubs, machetes and guns and seized natural gas fields on Thursday. At least eight people died in Pando, and 36 were wounded.

Government opponents are demanding Morales cancel a Dec. 7 nationwide vote on a new constitution that would help him centralize power.

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