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Originally published June 2, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 2, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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TV station forced off air by Chávez goes to YouTube

Forced off the air by President Hugo Ch...z, an opposition-aligned Venezuelan TV channel has begun taking its news shows to the Web...

The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Forced off the air by President Hugo Chávez, an opposition-aligned Venezuelan TV channel has begun taking its news shows to the Web through the popular video-sharing site YouTube.

Since it went off the airwaves Sunday, Radio Caracas Television has kept taping programs and is uploading its news show "The Observer" each day to YouTube, RCTV (Radio Caracas Television) Vice President Maribel Morales said Friday. YouTube listed the Venezuelan program as its most-subscribed feed of the week.

In one segment Thursday, announcer Isnardo Bravo pledged that "RCTV will continue to keep people informed in defense of free speech."

Chávez refused to renew the channel's license, accusing it of inciting a failed coup in 2002 and violating various broadcast laws. The decision has been condemned by several foreign governments, press-freedom groups and international organizations.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Venezuela on Friday to return the station to the air and "cease these attacks on the free press."

Meanwhile, thousands of Venezuelan university students returned to the streets to protest what they call an abuse of power by Chávez, facing off with riot police in the streets while waving flags, blowing whistles and chanting, "We are students, not coup-plotters!"

"If nobody listens to us, if the government doesn't listen to us, the only option is to be on the street," said 19-year-old Clemys Rivas, who was dressed in black — the color that student protesters have taken on to reflect their view of the country's state of affairs.

Riot police blocked thousands of students inside the campus of Andres Bello Catholic University, where protesters shook the fences and shouted "freedom!" After four hours, the police retreated and cheering students poured out.

Jonas Calaforra, 27, said the protesters wanted to send the message that "democracy is not a dictatorship of the majority," and that although Chávez won elections in December, "he has to govern for 100 percent" of Venezuelans.

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