CARACAS, Friday November 02, 2007 | Update
Interior Minister claims university students are promoting subversion
Minister of the Interior and Justice Pedro Carreño claimed that some groups in Venezuela have "hidden" intentions to foster subversion in the country.
He pointed particularly to some opposition leaders and the leaders of the university students who have rejected the proposed changes to the Venezuelan Constitution.
"Our hand will not shake when the time comes to act. Their attitudes are challenging. I think the university students have a hidden intention to promote a climate of subversion in the country, and we will not allow that."
Students, teachers march to reject reform
University students and teachers gathered Wednesday in Aula Magna of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) in a forum called "For Freedom, Against the Reform," and pledged to defend both democracy and the autonomy of universities.
"Let us save democracy, let us defend autonomy," students chanted.
On Thursday at 11:00 a.m. both students and teachers started a march from UCV campus, north Caracas, to the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE) to reject the proposed changes to the Constitution advanced by President Hugo Chávez and endorsed by the National Assembly.
University students stage march
Around 11:23 a.m on Thursday university students started marching from the campus of the Central University of Venezuela (BCV) to the National Electoral Council (CNE).
Political parties leaders are expected to join the march at Plaza Venezuela, north Caracas.
There were no reports of National Guard troops stopping university students from other cities from traveling to Caracas to take part in the demonstration intended to rebut the proposed changes to the Constitution.
Students arrive in the headquarters of CNE
Around 1:16 p.m. Thursday the university students staging a march to reject the proposed changes to the Venezuelan Constitution reached their point of arrival, near the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE), specifically at Colón Square.
A group of students walked from that point to the headquarters of CNE, where they are to deliver a document rebutting the constitutional reform.
Despite the police blockade and some students' desire to enter the headquarters of CNE, the demonstration was conducted with no serious incidents.
University students tried to chain themselves to the stairways of CNE
Following a meeting with the authorities of the National Electoral Council (CNE), some university student leaders tried to chain themselves to the stairways of the electoral body -a move that was prevented by National Guard troops.
Ricardo Sánchez, secretary of the Federation of Students' Councils of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), drew out a chain while he was going down the stairways in CNE headquarters. When he tried to chain himself to the stairways, the National Guard troops prevented him from doing so.
Amidst the struggle, one girl showed her bloody hand to the TV cameras, as she was injured during the incident.
Troops break up the demonstration
Outside the CNE, the Caracas Metropolitan Police and the National Guard troops used water, tear gas, and plastic bullets to break up the demonstration of university students and teachers that marched to the CNE headquarters.
Pro-Chávez students demand serious debate on reform
University students at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) supporting President Hugo Chávez -who called themselves "progressive" students- Thursday demanded a serious debate on the proposed changes to the Constitution with their fellow university students opposed to the reform.
Andreína Tarazona, a journalism student, said "the student movements need to stand up and fight by debating with the ideas," ABN reported.
"The actions conducted by the opposition, including today's (Thursday) march, are intended only to reject the Chávez' government, but also the project of country most citizens support."
University students protest in west Caracas
Early on Friday university students at the Andrés Bello Catholic University, southwest Caracas, staged a demonstration rejecting the violent event Thursday near the headquarters of the National Electoral Council (CNE) following a march to rebut the proposed changes to the Venezuelan Constitution.
The protest began in the university campus and then students decided to block the Francisco Fajardo highway.
After noon, National Guard troops appeared in the place.
The demonstration is preventing free transit in the Francisco Fajardo highway.
Students demonstrate against violence in Thursday rally
University students throughout Venezuela staged demonstrations Friday to repudiate the violent incidents recorded Thursday following a march and a rally outside the National Electoral Council (CNE).
In Caracas, students at the Simón Bolívar University (USB), southeast Caracas, blocked car traffic near their campus.
They reported police abuse in Thursday demonstration. On Friday, police officers tried to mediate with students to allow car traffic in the area.
In the Central University of Venezuela, north Caracas (UCV), students joined the protests. Eduardo Torres, a student at UCV, said they repudiated both the intended constitutional reform and police repression against university students in the states of Táchira, Trujillo, Mérida, and Sucre.
In northwestern Lara state, a group of medicine students at Lisandro Alvarado University blocked the Libertador Avenue. They demonstrated peacefully against the constitutional reform.
In southwestern Táchira students for the third consecutive day demonstrated to repudiate President Hugo Chávez' proposed changes to the Constitution.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.