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Newspapers' headquarters attacked

(IPYS/IFEX) - In less than a week, the headquarters of two regional newspapers were attacked by supporters of Venezuela's ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). On 1 July 2009, approximately 20 demonstrators attacked the "El Carabobeño" newspaper's offices and on 2 July the headquarters of the "Notitarde" newspaper was also attacked. Both newspapers operate in the city of Valencia, in Carabobo state, central Venezuela.

The demonstrators accused the newspapers of supporting the coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and demanded that they change their editorial stance.

In the case of "El Carabobeño", the demonstrators painted the newspaper building's walls with messages supporting Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and against the coup in Honduras and with insults against the press, claiming that the press is a traitor against the Chávez regime. Some of the demonstrators arrived on motorbikes and threatened photographers who were taking pictures of the incident.

Valencia's mayor, Edgardo Parra, also participated in the protest and was interviewed, together with the director of the municipal police, Chessar López, by the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Carolina Gonzáles, and its institutional relations manager, Belén Bellera. The officials demanded that the newspaper change its editorial stance regarding coverage of the crisis in Honduras.

At the "Notitarde" headquarters, the demonstrators threatened journalists, threw shoes at the building and broke the newspaper's name plate over the entrance door.

On 29 June, PSUV supporters painted the "Notitarde" and "El Carabobeño" headquarters in the city of Puerto Cabello, in northern Carabobo, with messages declaring them to be "political objectives". The demonstration was organised by Mayor Rafael Lacava in opposition to the two newspapers' editorial stances. Those who participated in the demonstration claimed that the two newspapers oppose the national government.

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