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Thursday, January 2, 2014
Bolivians vow to block Dakar Rally on salt flats

Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Off-road champions are revving their engines for this weekend's start of the Dakar Rally. This year's race from Argentina to Chile goes through Bolivia's high-altitude salt flats, where President Evo Morales is hoping the race will boost tourism.

Other Aymara Indians are vowing to block motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles from the salt flats. They fear crowds will leave trash and scare off flamingos, and leave deep marks on the shiny white surface.

The government says it will protect the environment. Just in case, race organizers are sending trucks and cars on a different route through Argentina.

Only lighter vehicles will cross the famous "Salar de Uyuni," where rain during the race is expected to leave water over salt layers that have built up over thousands of years.