Protests force Bolivian president from office

The president of Bolivia has been forced to resign by continuing protests.

The president of Bolivia has resigned after weeks of deadly street riots.

Sanchez de Lozada's coalition government suffered a blow early Friday, when his last key supporter withdrew in the face of protests over a controversial plan to export natural gas.

Tens of thousands of poverty-stricken Bolivians have marched through the capital for five straight days calling for the president's resignation. They say the export plan will only benefit the country's wealthy elite.

Dozens of people have died in the protests in South America's poorest nation.

De Lozada temporarily suspended the gas export plan last week in the face of riots, but it did not put an end to the demonstrations, which human rights groups say have claimed as many as 65 lives.

Military planes are being used to airlift foreigners from La Paz.

Both Britain and the United States have advised their nationals not to travel to Bolivia because of the deteriorating situation.

Vice-President Carlos Mesa was sworn as Bolivia's new president late Friday night.