The Washington Post

Removal of anti-Chavez TV channel spurs protests
The Washington Post

Police and supporters of President Hugo Chavez clashed with students in cities across the country Monday during protests over the government forcing an opposition channel off cable TV. One youth was reported killed and 16 people suffered injuries.

The biggest confrontation occured in Caracas, where police fired tear gas and plastic bullets to scatter thousands of students who tried to march on the headquarters of Venezuela’s state-run telecommunications agency. At least six demonstrators and a journalist were treated for injuries.

In the western city of Merida, a youth was killed during fighting between anti- and pro-Chavez forces and clashes when police tried to separate the rival groups, Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said late Monday

Demonstrations erupted over the government ordering cable companies to drop Radio Caracas Television Internacional early Sunday. RCTV had defied new rules requiring local cable channels to carry mandatory programming, including some of Chavez’s speeches.

« Freedom of expression is a right that we all embrace, and it must be defended, » said Alejandro Perdomo, 19, who accused Chavez of attempting to silence his critics.