Venezuela opposition protests Chavez reform

Opinion polls gave a slight lead to Chavez before a Feb. 15 vote on whether to allow the president and other politicians to run for re-election indefinitely.

Venezuela opposition protests Chavez reform
Tens of thousands of Venezuelans demonstrated through the streets of Caracas on Saturday to protest President Hugo Chavez over constitutional changes that could allow the president to run for office indefinitely.

Opinion polls gave a slight lead to Chavez before a Feb. 15 vote on whether to allow the president and other politicians to run for re-election indefinitely.

Voters rejected a similar proposal in 2007.

The march, under the slogan "No is no" and led by anti-government students and political parties that say Chavez will turn Venezuela into a version of communist Cuba.

"This reform hides, as President Chavez himself has said, the start of what would be a country, a state with a Castro-communist system," said Manuel Rosales, a former opposition presidential candidate.

March organizers said hundreds of thousands of people took part, while government television said turnout was low.

"If we did a march, we would have 100 times the people they brought today," Chavez said during door-to-door campaigning in a poor Caracas neighborhood. He wore a baseball jersey with the word "Yes" emblazoned in red across his chest.

Protesters wore shirts emblazoned with the phrase "I also want to be president."

Many carried Venezuela's red, yellow and blue flag in the march that stretched from the edge of the city's largest slum to a wealthy business district.


Reuters
Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2009, 14:33
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