Two-day shutdown urged in six provinces to protest against constitutional reforms.
She reported that an estimated 1.5 million indigenous workers living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s richest province, support the government and say the proposed changes represent the only chance for change.
Santa Cruz is considered an opposition stronghold.
The strike, which follows protests over the weekend in the city of Sucre in which four people died, mainly affects the wealthier, eastern provinces where Morales’ opponents are strongest.
|“We know there are people interested in generating a climate of violence”
Alfredo Rada, interior minister
They accuse Morales of pandering to his Aymara and Quechua Indian power base and of ignoring other Bolivians.
Meanwhile, the government warned the strikes could lead to renewed violence.
Alfredo Rada, the interior minister, said: “The police will fulfil their role. Of course we’re not going to be provoked.
“We know there are people interested in generating a climate of violence.”
Morales said: “The strike … is against this process of change, the new economic model, against the nationalisation of natural resources.”
Morales’ allies had voted through a draft of the new constitution on Saturday without opposition delegates, sparking violent protests in the city of Sucre, where the constitutional assembly sits.
The congress also approved a motion allowing the assembly that is rewriting the constitution to hold its sessions anywhere in Bolivia, and not just in Sucre as initially planned.
Analysts say this will further infuriate the opposition, which wants the colonial city to regain the status as sole capital it lost to La Paz in a civil war in the 19th century.
Morales further angered landowners by signing a decree on Wednesday expropriating 180,000 hectares of land in the Chuquisaca province to be given to the indigenous Guarani people, who he said were living in “a situation of captivity”.