Saturday, September 5, 2009

No more Chavez - around the world

Multi-city protests call for 'No More Chavez'
Susana Londono
Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held protests Friday against the leftist leader in cities across Latin America, in an effort coordinated through Twitter, Facebook and a Web site titled "No More Chavez!"
They grasped banners and signs with images of Chavez in a straitjacket and wearing a red clown nose. "Chavez, the shame of Bolivia," read a banner in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Police in Colombia estimated more than 5,000 marched in Bogota waving flags. Thousands also took to the streets in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Some said they were protesting what they called Chavez's growing authoritarianism, while others said he should stop meddling in other countries' affairs.
Honduras' interim leader, Roberto Micheletti, defended the June coup that deposed Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya while addressing protesters in Tegucigalpa.
"Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won't achieve it," Micheletti said. "We'll stop him."
Chavez — who was traveling in Syria — ridiculed the protests on Thursday, likening Micheletti to a gorilla and saying: "Those who want to march, march with 'gorill-etti,' the dictators, the extreme right."
Chavez supporters held smaller counter-demonstrations in Caracas, where about 100 people gathered, and elsewhere.
Turnout for the global anti-Chavez protest was far from massive in many cities. Crowds ranging from a dozen to 200 people gathered in New York, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Panama City and the capitals of Argentina and Ecuador.
Protest organizer Marcela Garzon in Colombia said there were no figures available on how many people participated globally, and that more important than the number was the opportunity to "express ourselves."
"The quantity doesn't interest us, but rather the quality," Garzon said.
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Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela, and Freddy Cuevas in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, contributed to this report.
The Associated Press

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