BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Spanish Portuguese Caribbean
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Americas  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 17:09 GMT
Venezuela soldiers 'raid police stations'
The strike has seen street protests almost daily
The police chief in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, has accused soldiers of entering several police stations and seizing weapons.

Henry Vivas said troops carried out the raids early on Tuesday and took away all kinds of weapons, including anti-riot equipment, belonging to the police.
We don't understand this action... it's outrageous

Henry Vivas
Police chief

The Caracas police force has been under the control of the central government since an order in November from President Hugo Chavez, who accused police officers of repressing his supporters during protests.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling, Mr Chavez has so far declined to relinquish control of the police to Caracas Mayor Alfredo Pena, who is part of the opposition trying to oust the president.

Hugo Chavez
Chavez's presidency is supposed to end in 2007

Correspondents say the seizure could raise tensions in the general strike, which entered its 44th day on Tuesday.

Further demonstrations are planned as part of the opposition-led action, which seeks to force Mr Chavez from power.

One march planned for Tuesday is expected to have a new, religious character.

Claiming that Mr Chavez "is afraid of the Virgin Mary", organisers of the "March of Jesus and Mary with their people" have called on protesters to carry religious images and rosary beads.

'Dictatorial'

In November, the Venezuelan president used troops to take control of the police force and the force was told report directly to the national government rather than the mayor.

The move came in the wake of clashes between the police and pro-Chavez demonstrators.

Complaining of the dawn raids, the police chief told Union radio on Tuesday that he did not understand the action.

"This leaves us at a tremendous disadvantage against criminals... It's outrageous."

The opposition has been staging almost daily demonstrations in its effort to pressure Mr Chavez, who was elected in 1998, to hold a referendum on his rule.

The opposition has accused him of dictatorial behaviour and mismanaging the oil-rich nation's economy.


Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

09 Jan 03 | Business
18 Nov 02 | Americas
17 Nov 02 | Americas
20 Oct 02 | Americas
05 Jan 03 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes