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Bolivian Consulate Under Pressure

by Liz Nevill

Auckland's Water Pressure Group shattered the genteel quiet of Remuera's Victoria Ave yesterday afternoon when they let loose on the Bolivian Consulate with fire hoses.

The WPG were at the forefront of a protest against the Bolivian authorities implementation of martial law aimed at quelling Bolivian citizen's protests against water privatisation.

Ninety day martial law was declared in Bolivia last Saturday in reaction to strikes and road blocks by the people of Cochabamba City, who in the last ten years, have seen the privatisation of their national rail, telecommunications and electricity services, and now their water.

Standing atop of an ancient fire appliance, the calling card of the AWPG, spokesperson Penny Bright called on Aucklanders to recognise the plight of the Bolivian people now facing huge user-pays water price increases.

"As in New Zealand, successive governments have shown that they put the interests of corporations ahead of the people", she said. "Here in Auckland the WPG will continue our campaign of civil disobedience to topple the commercialised water services company Metrowater Ltd. We see it as our duty to find common cause with the people of Bolivia in their situation. I call on Aucklanders to join with this solidarity action".

According to reports from Bolivia the imposition of martial law is resulting in police and army gunfire. Six people are understood to have been shot to death, many injured or missing.

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