Venezuelan students keep up hunger strike

CARACAS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Dozens of Venezuelan student activists kept up a hunger strike on Monday, accusing President Hugo Chavez of persecuting government opponents in their latest protest against the socialist leader.

More than 50 students, many sprawled out on mattresses, continued a demonstration that first started last week outside the Caracas office of the Organization of American States.

The hunger strike has cast fresh attention on an anti-Chavez student movement that emerged two years ago and spearheaded anti-government protests.

The students charge the government has jailed dozens of Chavez critics on politically motivated charges and are calling for them to be released.

Government officials deny the claims.

One detained student, Julio Rivas, was released from jail on Monday, his lawyer said, after he was held earlier this month on charges of rebellion after participating in an opposition march.

Reporting by Patricia Rondon; Writing by Kevin Gray, Editing by Sandra Male