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Dueling protests in Venezuela

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 01:00

Feb. 22 - Thousands take to the streets as both opposition groups and government supporters protest in Venezuela. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on Saturday as both sides of the political spectrum protested on the 10th day of political unrest in the oil-producing country. Wearing white and chanting anti-government slogans, opposition groups gathered on a main avenue in Caracas for a 'concentration' after not being authorized to march. On the other side of Caracas, thousands of women in support of the government marched for peace. Waving signs with images of the late President Hugo Chavez and current leader President Nicolas Maduro, the women said that peace was the only option. According to media reports, a young supermarket worker has become the latest victim in Venezuela's unrest when he rode his motorcycle into a cable stretched across a road late on Friday. Both sides are mourning supporters killed in the worst turmoil since President Nicolas Maduro narrowly won an election in April 2013 to replace the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. The government blames "fascist groups" seeking a coup like the one that briefly ousted Chavez in 12 years ago, while the opposition is accusing troops and pro-Maduro militants of attacking peaceful demonstrators. Anti-government protesters have repeatedly blocked streets in the area with trash, which they sometimes set on fire. Police and National Guard troops have often used teargas to scatter demonstrators before clearing away the obstacles. Five people have died from gunshot wounds, beginning on February 12 when three marchers were shot after a peaceful opposition protest in central Caracas that degenerated into running battles between riot police and hooded demonstrators. Two other people were shot dead at protests around the country in the following days, and a sixth was run over by a car during a melee. The opposition are demanding that the president resign over rampant crime, high inflation, shortages of basic products, and what they see as repression of political opponents. Maduro says the protests are a pretext for a planned coup, similar to the short-lived one in 2002. However, there have been no indications that the military, which was the decisive factor 12 years ago, would turn on him now. On Friday, Maduro urged U.S. President Barack Obama to hold talks with his government and suggested the two nations restore ambassadors, just a day after his government slammed the U.S. leader's comments on Venezuela as a "new, gross interference."

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Dueling protests in Venezuela

Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 01:00

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