President Carlos Mesa offered to resign Monday night, seeking to quell weeks of anti-government protests that have paralyzed parts of the country.
The offer came as tens of thousands of Indians, miners and labor members protested in downtown La Paz in their largest anti-government march in weeks.
"This is as far as I can go," Mesa said in a nationally televised address. "It is my decision as president to present my resignation." It was the second time this year he offered to step down because of street protests.
Monday's protest in La Paz were largely peaceful, but riot police fired volleys of tear gas canisters and fought sporadic battles against rock-throwing protesters on the fringes of the demonstration.
More than 500 protesters were turned away by acrid tear gas as they tried to close in on Mesa's seat of power at the Government Palace, and riot police also scattered a crowd of thousands from another downtown plaza when they tried to rally.
No injuries were immediately reported, but police made 22 arrests, among them protesters accused of brandishing dynamite, according to state television Canal Siete.
The protests began with long lines of demonstrators, including indigenous women in black bowler hats and farmers in baseball caps, who snaked down from poor hilltop slums above the capital. Disgruntled miners created thunderous booms by tossing dynamite sticks.
"A people united will never be defeated!" protesters shouted, as they pressed for the nationalization of Bolivia's energy industry and greater indigenous rights, among other demands.
The raucous but largely peaceful demonstrations raised tensions in this impoverished Andean nation of 9 million people, marking the fourth week of a swelling crisis that has seen protesters throw up road blockades that have strangled the capital and triggered gas and food shortages.
tear gas :（催泪瓦斯）
indigenous : originating where it is found（本土的）