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Thousands around the world protest against Chavez

Thousands of people have rallied around the world against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in protests co-ordinated from Colombia using the Internet. Events were held in several Colombian cities, as well is in Caracas and across Europe.

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AFP - Thousands of people around the world voiced their opposition to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez on Friday with protests held in Colombia, across Europe, and even the heart of the Venezuelan capital.

A hundreds-strong crowd in Caracas gathered at noon for a rally to reject the Chavez administration's moves over the last decade, which they say has "manipulated" the citizens and left them poorer.

A few blocks away, hundreds of Chavez loyalists gathered at Caracas' Plaza Bolivar for a celebratory rally in support of the firebrand leader's politics.

In over 20 cities in neighboring Colombia, thousands rallied against the Venezuelan president, many wearing custom-made tee-shirts bearing slogans such as "No More Chavez" and "Chavez: Dictator."

Protests were also held in New York, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Toronto, condemning Chavez' leftist government and his alleged destruction of free speech.

The movement was mobilized less than two weeks ago by a group called "Global March against Chavez on September 4," founded by 28-year-old Colombian businessman Alejandro Gutierrez.

Using social networking tools such as the Internet websites Facebook and Twitter, Gutierrez said he had garnered support from over 300,000 people around the globe.

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