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Opposition to chavez blocks freeway in venezeula capital

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Opposition to Chavez blocks freeway in Venezuela's capital 2004-02-29 11:28:01

CARACAS, Feb. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Opponents to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday blocked Caracas' main freeway with burningwheels and trash to reject National Electoral Council's decision to revise "doubtful" pro-recall referendum signatures against the leader.

The erection of barricades in the Francisco Fajardo freeway began around 6:00 p.m. local time (2200 GMT) in the Altamira neighborhood, Chacao municipality, where the opposition of Leopoldo Lopez rules, local press said.

On Friday, clashes between government forces and demonstrators trying to reach the venue of the 12th summit of the Group of 15 inCaracas claimed two lives and wounded 21, official sources revealed.

The electoral body is scheduled to publish on Sunday the preliminary results of the validation of the 3.4 million pro-recall referendum signatures. The Venezuelan constitution requiresat least 20 percent of the registered voters, currently 2.4 million people, to call on a recall referendum against the president.

Chavez, first elected in 1998, was accused by his opponents of wrecking national economy and ruling the country by dictatorship.

Venezuela, the No. 5 oil exporter in the world, has witnessed several general strikes against President Chavez since 1998 and a 48-hour coup in April 2002. The current referendum crisis is the latest and most serious challenge to Chavez' five-year rule. Enditem

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