Police disperse anti-Chavez demonstration

Venezuelan police fired tear gas shells and plastic bullets and used water cannons to disperse hundreds of students staging a protest against the government of President Hugo Chavez on Thursday.

Caracas Police Chief Carlos Meza approved the step saying the students did not have any official permission to demonstrate. Another reason he stated was that it was crucial to break off the demonstration in order to prevent clashes with thousands of pro Chavez supporters who were also marching the streets to commemorate the anniversary of a failed coup attempt by the president in 1992.

Students spearheading the protest on the other hand, said they have the full right to carry out peaceful demonstrations and that authorities frequently refuse to grant any permission to them.

A series of protests started last week after the government issued orders to cable and satellite TV providers to put Radio Caracas Television International off the airwaves. Protesters blame Chavez for these orders, saying he is trying to silence off his critics.