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Split in Maduro's ranks amid Venezuela turmoil

Published on Feb 25, 2014 6:10 AM
Venezuelan demonstrators protesting against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, Venezuela, on Feb 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

CARACAS (AFP) - A Venezuelan ruling party governor called for the release of all jailed protesters on Monday, Feb 24, 2014, in a rare public split within President Nicolas Maduro's ranks after nearly three weeks of deadly anti-government demonstrations.

Mr Jose Gregorio Vielma Mora, the governor of the western state of Tachira where the student-led protests began on Feb 4, also criticised the use of the military in response to the protests, calling it "a grave error" and an "unacceptable excess". The development came as Mr Maduro was preparing to meet with the nation's governors and after his call on Sunday for a national dialogue.

At least 14 people have been killed and 140 others injured in the protests, which have posed the greatest challenge to Mr Maduro's government since he was narrowly elected president last year to succeed the late leftist icon Hugo Chavez.

Forty-five people remain under arrest.

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