Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to defend an anti-government television station that is being forced off the air.
They assembled outside the headquarters of RCTV, to denounce the imminent closure of the channel by President Hugo Chavez
“This is a crime against humanity,” said one man.
“One person should not have the right to shut something down because they have a difference of opinion from all of us here.”
Another demonstrator said the decision cannot be accepted, maintaining the station was the heritage of all Venezuelans and would be rescued.
Broadcasting for over half a century, RCTV stands accused by opponents of participating in a bungled 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez.
His supporters are delighted by its demise. The president denies he is threatening free speech and rejects concern and criticism from abroad,
telling the European Parliament and US Congress to mind their own business.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the government must take RCTV’s broadcasting equipment to ensure a smooth handover to the new state channel that will replace it.
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