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Venezuelan opposition leader demands release of jailed protesters

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A top opponent of President Hugo Chavez demanded the release of jailed protesters Wednesday as university students poured into the streets for a third day to protest the removal of a leading opposition TV station from the air.

Former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales said protests over the government's move to halt the broadcasts of Radio Caracas Television show that "freedom cannot be negotiated nor bargained."

Protesters have filled the capital's plazas and streets since the opposition-aligned channel went off the air at midnight Sunday. Chavez refused to renew its broadcast license, and police have clashed with angry crowds hurling rocks and bottles.

A total of 182 people — mostly university students and minors — have been detained in nearly 100 protests since Sunday, Justice Minister Pedro Carreno said late Tuesday. At least 30 were charged with violent acts, prosecutors said, but it was unclear how many remained behind bars.
"Freedom for those young men and women, immediately. They should not be treated like criminals," said Rosales, the governor of western Zulia state who was handily defeated by Chavez in December elections.

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