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Venezuela's Maduro gives ultimatum to Caracas protesters



(Reuters) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warned protesters in Caracas on Saturday to clear a square they have made their stronghold, or face eviction by security forces.

Plaza Altamira, in upscale east Caracas, has been a focus of anti-government protests and violence during six weeks of unrest around Venezuela that has killed 28 people.

"I'm giving the Chuckys, the killers, just a few hours," Maduro said, using the name of a murderous child-doll in a horror film to describe anti-government demonstrators who have made the normally genteel 1940s square a base of operations.

"If they don't retreat, I'm going to liberate those spaces with the security forces," Maduro added. "They have a few hours to go home ... Chuckys, get ready, we're coming for you."

Students and other protesters have been using the square, in the pro-opposition Chacao district of Caracas, as a rallying point since a wave of protests started to gather steam in mid-February.

Most nights around dusk, a hard core of several hundred demonstrators has been fighting police and army lines there, in an attempt to access a nearby highway and block traffic.

On Friday night, for example, security forces used water cannon and teargas in a battle against protesters using stones and petrol bombs, Reuters witnesses said.

At least a dozen people were arrested, and the noise of the fighting echoed across east Caracas for several hours.

In a speech at a military rally, Maduro also alleged that right-wingers in the State Department and Pentagon were recommending extreme measures against the Venezuela government, including economic sanctions and even his assassination.

"President (Barack) Obama, if this message reaches you, you should know that it would be the worst mistake of your life to sign the authorization of the assassination of President Nicolas Maduro," he said in a high-octane speech recalling his predecessor Hugo Chavez's spats with the United States.

The U.S. government says Maduro, like Chavez, is inventing "imperialist" threats to distract Venezuelans' attention from their domestic political divisions and economic problems.

But U.S. antipathy to the Socialist government has been in evidence since the start of Chavez's 1999-2013 rule, not least in Washington's quick recognition of a brief 2002 coup against him.

Chavez died from cancer last year, with his protege Maduro, a 51-year-old former bus driver, winning a vote to replace him.

As well as the 28 deaths, including supporters of both sides and members of the security forces, more than 300 people have been injured in Venezuela's worst unrest in a decade.

More than 1,500 people have been arrested, of whom about 100 are still in jail. They include 21 security officials accused of using excess force.

Maduro says he has seen off a "coup" attempt, and he does not look in danger of being toppled by a "Venezuelan Spring," with the military apparently still behind him.

But a radical rump of students and hardline political leaders are vowing to stay in the streets until Maduro goes. They were planning a march in Caracas on Sunday to protest the presence of Cuban advisers for Venezuela's armed forces.

As dusk fell on Saturday, there were only a handful of protesters in Altamira Square, but some demonstrators were starting to put up barricades of rubbish on other streets in the zone.

(editing by Gunna Dickson)

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aoversier March 15 2014 at 9:23 PM

Looks like nothing has changed much in Venezuela. Chavez now Maduro

Flag Reply +10 rate up
Torak March 16 2014 at 3:57 AM

Who sees civil war kicking off in Venezuela soon? This guy does.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ricojgamboa March 16 2014 at 3:58 AM

EXTREMELY SAD ....I'M SPEECHLESS TO SEE SUCH A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND PEOPLE TO PUT UP WITH THIS.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
john7736 ricojgamboa March 16 2014 at 8:02 AM

Then ask the CIA to stop.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Paul john7736 March 16 2014 at 9:47 AM

The U.S. wants Venezuelas oil

Flag +1 rate up
Paul MacLeod March 16 2014 at 7:40 AM

you folks in the square need to move out.. there is no reason to fight a battle you cannot win.. live for another day ..no matter what side of the argument you are on, this is not a good strategy.. move out ..

Flag Reply +3 rate up
r7168 March 16 2014 at 8:45 AM

Great,another sh!thole country in trouble.....

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Richard March 16 2014 at 9:02 AM

You wanted Hugito now you have his wonderful Maduroito to help the poor. But now vote with your number they know who you are. If you don’t vote for or support them you lose your job and house.
Argentina is next .

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Ken March 16 2014 at 9:48 AM

Right-wingers in the Obama administration? What has Maduro been smoking?

Flag Reply +11 rate up
2 replies
wasabimon Ken March 16 2014 at 12:36 PM

if you paid attention--OB is center right--the country is so right wing that a REP from the 60s would qualify as left wing---how do you think we became a fascist nation ? look at all the scum from past right wing administrations are in his administration

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
Rafael & Mayra wasabimon March 16 2014 at 7:24 PM

CENTER RIGHT? OBAMA? Have you been smoking that three leaf clover on your posts? What scum from past right wing administration are in his administration? Eric Holder? Sibelius? Maybe the right-wing scum he tried to pass through for Civil Rights Debo Adegbile? Are we talking about the same America? And the military is in charge of the CIA? Let me guess, global warming is real and the government flew those planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Flag 0 rate up
wasabimon Ken March 16 2014 at 12:37 PM

and when you put a military man in charge of the CIA not only are you out of your mind you are suicidal

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Enrique March 16 2014 at 11:02 AM

Saque a ese cono de su madre ya, hasta cuando carajo le aguantan a esos hijos de putas comunistas?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
CUSACitizen Enrique March 16 2014 at 11:36 AM

Uh? English please...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
vtmilitia CUSACitizen March 16 2014 at 11:43 AM

Now, now, we must be "all inclusive " here how does a country grow otherwise ? Sure we can't understand that but it matters not if those speaking another language are made to feel stifled. Just think how much farther this country would have come if immigrants hadn't been forced to learn a common language.

Flag +1 rate up
floatgod March 16 2014 at 12:27 PM

The sweet side (Putinist) of socialism.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
John March 16 2014 at 1:08 AM

People in V need to eliminate the dictator and his people and root out the problem. Cut off the cancer and start over. Freedom costs lives to earn and protect. Get up and get your freedom.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
lawcenterhawaii John March 16 2014 at 4:48 AM

you wouldn't know freedom from femdom

Flag Reply 0 rate up
john7736 John March 16 2014 at 8:08 AM

Latin America is no longer one big U.S. colony.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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