Rights groups: Venezuela seeks to suppress dissent - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rights groups: Venezuela seeks to suppress dissent

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Human rights groups are condemning Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for what they say is a campaign to squash demonstrations against his government.

The past two weeks 13 anti-government activists have been arrested for protesting everything from mounting economic hardships to the presence of a team from communist Cuba at a baseball tournament.

A coalition of 10 local rights groups said Tuesday that the use of firearms by police to control crowds and a reliance on anti-terrorism laws to round up activists violate Venezuelans' constitutional right to peaceful protest.

Opposition hardliners are calling on Venezuelans to take to the streets Wednesday in what they hope will be their biggest show of force yet.

Maduro says opponents are trying to oust him and is urging supporters to stage their own march Wednesday.

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