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Student killed in TV protests

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, 26 January 2010 - One student was killed in the Venezuelan city of Merida on Monday in violence that erupted during protests against the government's order to cable networks to stop broadcasting RCTV Internacional - which is opposed to Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. Nine police officers were injured.

The cable providers dropped the broadcaster on Sunday. Chavez forced RCTV off free-access television in 2007, after accusing it of backing a coup that briefly ousted him.

Demonstrators protesting against the RCTV suspension in Caracas and other cities were broken up by police using tear gas.

The government said that the suspension could be lifted if the broadcaster obeyed a new law obliging it to broadcast some of Chavez's speeches, among other things, Reuters reported. Chavez's speeches can last for hours.

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: "We urge the Venezuelan authorities to fully investigate the circumstances of this death, because it sends out the message that those who peacefully protest against an infringement on press freedom are in danger of losing their lives."

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