Rally backs anti-Chavez TV station

Venezuelans march in protest against decision to remove RCTV from nation's airwaves.

    Opponents of Chavez say he has been squeezing freedom of speech and democratic rights [EPA]

    Hundreds of Chavez supporters in red caps and T-shirts mounted a rival gathering nearby backing the government's decision not to renew the licence of RCTV, which they accuse of backing a 2002 coup that briefly ousted Chavez.
    Warning to media
    Chavez's opponents charge that the former paratroop commander has decided not to renew RCTV's broadcast licence when it expires on May 28 in an attempt to silence a fierce government critic and also as a warning to other media outlets.
    Chavez and his supporters, however, say the measure is justified.
    They accuse RCTV and the country's opposition-aligned private media of supporting the 2002 coup against the Chavez by broadcasting cartoons and films instead of street protests which aided his return to power.
    Hundreds of police, including some in riot gear, were deployed across the commercial centre of Caracas to prevent any potential clashes.
    There were no reports of violence and the protesters reached their destination without confrontations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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