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Anger swells in Venezuela after president's rival is barred

Trouble flared as demonstrations were held in the capital Caracas and other major cities. Credit: AP

Angry protests have swelled in Venezuela after the main opposition leader to president Nicolas Maduro was banned from running for office.

Authorities fired tear gas and rubber bullets as thousands took to the streets a day after Mr Maduro's government barred opposition leader Henrique Capriles from pursuing election for 15 years.

Demonstrators clashed with riot police during a protest in Caracas. Credit: AP

The ban capped a dramatic 10-day crackdown that has sparked week-long demonstrations amid a wide-ranging political crisis.

The protests were triggered after the supreme court moved to strip the opposition-controlled legislature of several powers - an internationally condemned move since reversed.

Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets. Credit: AP

The crisis has seen pro-government groups target several opposition leaders and another hide in a foreign embassy to avoid arrest.

Venezuelan President claims Chavez wall appearance

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has claimed an image of his predecessor the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez has appeared on the wall of an underground construction site.

Maduro, who showed a photo of a white-plaster wall with marks that appear like eyes and a nose, said Chavez's face had briefly appeared to workers building a new subway line in Caracas in the middle of the night.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (L) shows a metro tunnel wall with an image which he says is the face of the late Hugo Chavez Credit: Reuters

Speaking on state television, the president said: "My hair stands on end just telling you about it. Who is that face? That gaze is the gaze of the fatherland that is everywhere around us, including in inexplicable phenomena."

Maduro - who was elected president in April after the death of Chavez - has previously spoken of seeing the spirit of his idol several times, including in the shape of a bird.


Venezuela's election body audits all electronic votes

Former bus driver Nicolas Maduro celebrated victory from Sunday's poll. Credit: Reuters

Venezuela's electoral authority is to carry out a full audit of electronic votes cast in the country's presidential election.

The announcement, reported by Reuters, comes hours before Nicolas Maduro was due to be sworn in as Hugo Chavez's successor after a narrow victory on Sunday.

The US had already called for a recount of the closely fought poll.

Mr Maduro was declared the winner by the country's National Electoral Council by 262,000 votes from 14.9 million cast by Venezuelans.

Venezuela acting president threatens curse on election

enezuela's acting President and presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro waves to supporters during a campaign rally at the state of Bolivar. Credit: Reuters

Venezuelan acting president Nicolas Maduro has said a centuries-old curse would fall on the heads of those who do not vote for him in next week's election to pick a successor to late leader Hugo Chavez.

Maduro's invocation of the "curse of Macarapana" was the latest twist in an increasingly surreal fight between him and opposition leader Henrique Capriles for control of the South American OPEC nation of 29 million people.

"If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro, he is voting against himself, and the curse of Macarapana is falling on him," said Maduro, referring to the 16th-century Battle of Macarapana when Spanish colonial fighters massacred local Indian forces.

Acting Venezuelan President Maduro registers his candidacy

To the cheers of thousands of supporters, acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro officially registered his candidacy today for the upcoming elections.

The 50-year-old arrived to the National Electoral Council driving his own bus to register his candidacy.

Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro talks to supporters today. Credit: REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

"I am going to accomplish his orders (referring to Chavez) with the biggest love that he cultivated in our hearts. I am not Chavez, but I am his son and together with the people, we are Chavez," Maduro said after registering his candidacy.

Both Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles have begun Venezuela's election race with scathing personal attacks on one another.

Maduro has registered as a candidate in the upcoming April presidential elections. Credit: REUTERS/Marco Bello

Maduro, who was sworn in as acting president after Chavez succumbed to cancer last week, is seen as the favourite to win the April 14 election, bolstered by an oil-financed state apparatus and a wave of public sympathy over Chavez's death.

Thousands of people lined the streets in Venezuela today. Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins