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Americas
Thousands rally against Chavez
Protesters call for Venezuelan leader not to interfere in other nations' affairs.
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2009 03:42 GMT
Small pro-Chavez rallies were also
held in some cities [AFP]

Thousands of people have protested against Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, in countries across Latin America.

Organisers said they were opposed to Chavez's alleged authoritarianism and his interference in nations in the region.

About 5,000 people gathered in Bogota, the Colombian capital, while others marched in the capitals of Honduras and Venezuela.

There were smaller demonstrations in other Latin American capitals, and in New York and Miami in the US, and Madrid in Spain.

'Dictator'

Roberto Micheletti, the Honduran president who took power after Chavez's ally Manuel Zelaya was ousted in June, led protests in his country.

"Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won't achieve it,'' Micheletti said.

"We'll stop him."

Miguel Fierro, one Colombian protest organiser, said: "Chavez has to know that Latin America doesn't belong to him."

Maurilio Gonzalez, a Venezuelan engineer marching in Bogota, said: "We're protesting with our Colombian brothers because we know what we have in Venezuela is a tyranny, a dictatorship disguised as a democracy."

Relations between Venezuela and Colombia have dipped with Colombia accusing the Chavez government of supporting the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

Chavez has also criticised Bogota over its plan to allow the US military greater access. Chavez says the agreement would threaten more than $7bn in bilateral trade.

'Stupid'

Chavez, who is currently in Syria, called the rallies "stupid", likening them to an extremist movement. He compared Micheletti with a gorilla.

Chavez, who is visiting the Middle East, dismissed the protests [AFP]
"Those who want to march, march with 'Goriletti', the dictators, the extreme right," he said.

Smaller pro-Chavez marches were also held. In Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, about 200 people rallied, and in Quito, Ecuador, police had to prevent the opposing sides from clashing.

Many of the anti-Chavez protests were small in number, with a dozen people marching in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and about 200 people in Miami, New York and Madrid.

Protests were also held in Chile, Argentina, Panama and Bolivia.

Participants were told about the protests on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Source:
Agencies
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