Venezuela protesters brave tear gas

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CARACAS: Venezuelan protesters demanded a referendum on ousting President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday, defying riot police who fired tear gas and a state of emergency that the opposition has blasted as unconstitutional. The opposition organized the demonstrations in Caracas and two dozen other cities and towns to press for a recall referendum against Maduro this year. More than 1.8 million signatures calling for the vote have been gathered on a petition that was handed to the National Electoral Council (CNE) two weeks ago. Police and soldiers using tear gas and pepper spray blocked around 1,000 demonstrators from marching on the CNE headquarters, journalists including Agence France-Presse witnessed.

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