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Americas

Thousands protest Chavez re-election plans

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Latest update : 2009-02-08

Thousands of protesters marched through the Venezuelan capital Caracas to oppose President Hugo Chavez's plans to alter the constitution to allow for the unlimited re-election of officials, including the president himself.

AFP - Thousands marched through the Venezuelan capital on Saturday to oppose President Hugo Chavez's plans to allow unlimited reelection for officials, including himself.
  
To cries of "no means no" demonstrators -- led by opposition parties and student groups -- marched 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the outskirts to the center of the Caracas.
  
Local media reported as many as 600,000 people took part in the protest.
  
The show of strength comes ahead of a February 15 poll, when Venezuelans will vote on whether to strip term limits from the constitution.
  
"I am voting 'no' because I don't want the president to stay in office after 2012, he wants to monopolize everything" said Rolando Gonzalez, a worker from the densely populated Catia neighborhood of Caracas.
  
With his popularity dipping, Chavez has vowed to promote economic development and address mounting crime worries if he wins a third term.
  
"Those who want to go on a direct route to violence, ungovernability and chaos, should vote 'no,'" he recently remarked.
  
Trying to reenforce his message on Saturday, Chavez demanded state prosecutors investigate an armed group operating the left-wing stronghold of La Piedrita.
  
The group is alleged to have carried out car bombings and has pledged to defend Chavez's "revolution."
  
Chavez has seen his popularity dip to 57 percent ahead of the poll, well below previous levels.
  
Falling oil and commodity prices have also hit the country's resource dependent economy.
 

Date created : 2009-02-08

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