Protests over a controversial new education law have sparked violence on the streets of the Venezuelan capital. Police fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse government opponents who knocked over a fence marking the end of the authorized route.
The law orders schools to base curricula on the “Bolivarian Doctrine” – a reference to ideals espoused by 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, such as national self-determination and Latin American unity. Critics accuse President Hugo Chavez of trying to win hearts and minds through indoctrination. “This law lays the ground for another law that will indoctrinate people, above all children, and they plan to bring politics into schools,” complained protestor. Meanwhile, a pro-government rally in support of the new law took place without incident just a few kilometres away.