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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 23:57 GMT 00:57 UK
Venezuela head in new TV warning
Students throw empty tear gas canisters back at riot police in Caracas
Mr Chavez accused opponents of fomenting unrest in the country
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has denounced what he called fresh plots to destabilise his government, after he closed an opposition TV channel.

He urged supporters to be on alert for a coup attempt and threatened a second TV network, Globovision.

Thousands of people across the country protested for a second day after Mr Chavez's decision not to renew Radio Caracas TV's (RCTV's) licence.

Police, government supporters and protesters clashed violently on Monday.

'Enemies of the homeland'

In a national address shown by all TV stations, Mr Chavez defended his decision to close RCTV as a public service, denouncing the 53-year-old station - Venezuela's most popular - as a "permanent attack on public morals".

Sound the alarm in the hills, neighbourhoods and towns to defend our revolution from this new fascist attack
Hugo Chavez
Venezuelan president

He also called news network Globovision an enemy of the state, attacking its coverage of the protests against RCTV's closure.

"Enemies of the homeland, particularly those behind the scenes, I will give you a name: Globovision. Greetings, gentlemen of Globovision, you should watch where you are going," Mr Chavez said.

"I recommend you take a tranquiliser and get into gear, because if not, I am going to do what is necessary."

On Monday, Venezuela's government announced it was suing Globovision for allegedly broadcasting material to incite a possible assassination of Mr Chavez. It also accused US news network CNN of linking him to al-Qaeda. Globovision and CNN have both denied the claims.

RCTV KEY FACTS
Venezuela's oldest private broadcaster, founded in 1953
Only opposition broadcaster with national reach
In 2002, broadcast opposition calls to overthrow Chavez
Airs large numbers of telenovelas and reality shows

In his broadcast Mr Chavez also accused protesters and opposition media of stirring unrest.

"Sound the alarm in the hills, neighbourhoods and towns to defend our revolution from this new fascist attack," he said.

Opposition TV channels openly supported a coup against him in April 2002 and refused to air massive pro-Chavez demonstrations at the time.

Mr Chavez lauded the new state-sponsored broadcaster, TVES, which launched after RCTV's closure, praising an "anti-capitalist" Pinocchio cartoon and a movie about South American independence hero Simon Bolivar it aired.

Rival protests

The decision to close RCTV has received international condemnation, including from the EU, press freedom groups, Chile and the US, which urged Mr Chavez to reverse the closure.

Pro-Chavez supporters rally in Caracas
Demonstrators on both sides of the debate marched across the country

"Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right," US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. "It's an essential element of democracy anywhere in the world."

RCTV's general manager Marcel Granier has described the closure as "abusive" and "arbitrary". The network will still be available on cable, but losing its public broadcast frequency will deprive it of most of its audience.

Meanwhile thousands of people from both sides of the debate staged separate marches in the capital, Caracas, on Tuesday.

Opponents attacked Mr Chavez's rule as a "dictatorship" while Chavez supporters accused the opposition of trying to destabilise the government.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clashes on the streets of Caracas



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