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Thousands take to the streets over new education law

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-26

Authorities lobbed tear gas at protesters demonstrating against Venezuela's new education law on Saturday, claiming it gives the state too much authority. Others, however, marched in support of the reform.

AFP - Authorities lobbed tear gas Saturday at protestors demonstrating against Venezuela's new education law, as thousands marched for and against the reform many claim is politically charged.
  
Demonstrations for and against the law have been held for over a week. Among its provisions is a clause saying the state's role includes teaching. It also gives some educational powers to pro-government neighborhood watch groups.
  
Saturday, authorities clamped down on opponents of the measure, letting loose with tear gas, apparently after some protestors broke a security cordon blocking their efforts to march on the National Assembly.
  
The government said the opposition marchers needed to be further away for security reasons.
  
Opponents say the new law is an instrument of political indoctrination that gives the state all-powerful authority.
  
Many opponents carried Venezuelan flags and signs with slogans like "I will not swallow your Cuban law" and "I want to study whatever I want to."
  
Meanwhile thousands of supporters of the legislation crammed the area outside the national assembly to voice support for the law.
  
"I am here because I have the revolution in my veins. I love my Commander," said Chavez supporter Maria Marin.
  
"The government wants to control everything, even our children's minds, but it still hasn't managed to have decent public education," said Julio Borges, a member of the opposition Justice First party.

Date created : 2009-08-23

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