Venezuela TV move draws protest

Hundreds rally in support of channel due to close after government suspends licence.

    Hugo Chavez accuses RCTV of backing a coup
    against his rule five years ago [AFP]

    'No to closing'

     

    Hundreds of students shouted "No to the closing!" as they gathered on Friday for a march to Venezolana de Television, the main state-run channel.

     

    The demonstration came after a protest in the capital last Saturday, which thousands of people attended.

     

    "Minority groups cannot go against the will of the majority of the Venezuelan people to create uncertainty in the case of RCTV's licence"

    Raul Baduel, Venezuela's Defence Minister

    "People have to realise that we have a totalitarian president," said Maria Alecia Klemprer, a 25-year-old university student at Friday's rally.

     

    Hundreds of police and national guard troops were dispatched across Caracas to discourage expected demonstrations on Sunday, when RCTV goes off the air.

     

    Venezuela's government say the opposition demonstrators are pursuing a "destabilisation campaign" as RCTV loses its licence.

     

    Raul Baduel, Venezuela's defence minister, said on Friday that "minority groups cannot go against the will of the majority of the Venezuelan people to create uncertainty in the case of RCTV's licence".

     

    The US senate foreign relations committee passed a resolution on Thursday against the "transgression of freedom of thought and expression" in Venezuela.

     

    Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have also condemned the closure of RCTV.

     

    RCTV has operated since 1953 and has consistently led viewing figures in Venezuela.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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