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Chavez criticizes protests at Catholic leader's office, Venezuelan TV station

Chavez criticizes protests at Catholic leader's office, Venezuelan TV station

Pro-government demonstrators peacefully occupied the offices of the Vatican's representative for several hours _ prompting rebukes from President Hugo Chavez as well as a Roman Catholic cardinal.
Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino urged the government "to prevent an escalation of violence" in comments published Thursday by the newspaper El Nacional. He said the demonstrators caused no damage to his office.
Chavez, who has often clashed with church leaders, also said that demonstrators led by street group leader Lina Ron Wednesday had gone too far. The protesters were denouncing the critical stances of the church and the opposition-aligned television station Globovision.
"I like Lina Ron a lot, but I have to criticize her because it shows great revolutionary indiscipline," Chavez told state television late Wednesday.
Hundreds of government supporters also protested outside the studios of Venezuela's main opposition-aligned TV station, and Chavez also criticized that demonstration and urged his partisans to show restraint.
Protesters massed outside Globovision offices on Wednesday to demand the station change its political line. Chavez has repeatedly accused the channel of manipulating information to try to discredit him.
Globovision director Alberto Federico Ravell came outside to talk with protesters, and station employee Asdrubal Sequera read a statement saying: "We aren't coup-plotters. We're democrats and critical of the exercise of power by all governments."
Chavez said he was concerned about the frequent recent protests at the Globovision offices because "anything could happen there."
Chavez suggested that critics could use the protests to harm his government. He recalled the "terrible damage that the ultra-left did" in Chile when right-wing Gen. Augusto Pinochet toppled Marxist President Salvador Allende in a 1973 coup.
"The ultra-left gave the justification to the right to do what they did," said Chavez, who himself survived a failed coup in 2002.


Updated : 2021-04-22 20:16 GMT+08:00