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13:15, 23 June 2017 Friday
18:48, 20 April 2017 Thursday

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France's Melenchon urges Caracas to free French reporters
France's Melenchon urges Caracas to free French reporters

The South American country is engulfed in massive protests over a deep economic crisis that has seen Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro moving to tighten his grip on power.

World Bulletin / News Desk

France's hard-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon on Thursday demanded that Venezuela release two French journalists held for alleged drug possession since April 11.

The pair are in custody "under the pretext that they had drugs on them, which I don't believe," Melenchon said on French radio.

"I've been asked to speak up, and I do so solemnly," said the Communist-backed candidate, who is enjoying a late surge in the polls ahead of the first round of the election on Sunday.

The reporters travelled to Venezuela for the CAPA news agency, whose director Philippe Levasseur declined to comment on their detention, telling AFP he did not want to undermine efforts to free them.

Melenchon, a staunch critic of outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande's neo-liberal policies, is an admirer of Venezuela's late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

Eight people have been killed and several hundred arrested in clashes between protesters and security forces in the past three weeks.

"I condemn all state violence, whether it is in Venezuela, in Bahrain or elsewhere," Melenchon said. 

 



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