Riot police with water cannons dispersed students protesting the new Higher Education Law passed by the Chavista-controlled lame-duck National Assembly:
Riot police clash with protesters
The law governing universities was approved by the National Assembly on Thursday and students condemned it as an attempt by President Hugo Chavez to clamp down on autonomous state universities that have been a bastion of opposition to his government.
Lawmakers’ approval in the wee hours of Thursday of a bill overhauling higher education in Venezuela brought supporters and opponents of the law onto the streets of Caracas, where a march by government critics was broken up by authorities.
The universities bill is among a raft of measures passed in the past two weeks by the National Assembly ahead of the Jan. 5 seating of a new congress in which leftist President Hugo Chavez’s party will have a substantially smaller majority.
Hours after the vote, students and faculty opposed to the legislation tried to march from state-funded Central University of Venezuela, or UCV, to nearby Venezuela Square, but were prevented from leaving the campus by security forces.
Units of the Metropolitan Police and National Guard fired pellets and water cannon to break up the protest.
The law was passed at 2:50AM, and contains 111 articles, plus the transitory provisions, which empower the State to regulate several aspects of the university sector, focusing power on the Minister of Higher Education.
At the blogs:
AFP journalist hurt while taking pictures of brutal police repression in Venezuela
Reporters can be scary to Chavez’ National Guard Opressors
As Students Protest in Caracas, Repression Is Ready For Them
Cross-posted at The Green Room.