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Election protests erupt in Venezuela

Students dispute Venezuela's presidential election results, clashing with security forces in Caracas.

Henrique capriles venezuela 2013 03 25Enlarge
Venezuelan presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles, gestures during a campaign rally in Naguanagua, Carabobo state, Venezuela, on March 21, 2013. (Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images)

Student-led demonstrations in Caracas on Monday drew tear gas and plastic bullets from National Guard troops seeking to quell election-related violence in Venezuela, according to the Associated Press

Angry protesters hurled chunks of concrete and stones at government troops at a highway outside the capital, giving vent to frustrations over perceived fraud in Sunday's presidential vote, reported Al Jazeera

The protesters were headed toward the government headquarters in the western part of the capital, said APVenezuela's National Electoral Council already announced a win by Nicolas Maduro, whose leadership was clearly favored by former leader Hugo Chavez.

It was reportedly an extremely tight race -- official results put results at 50.66 percent for Madura and 49.07 percent for the popular opposition leader Henrique Capriles, said Al Jazeera

Capriles says the election was rigged and threatened more protests on Tuesday if the government does not commit to a recount, reported CNN.

“I want to tell the candidate of the government: Today you’re the loser and I’m telling you this unequivocally," CNN cited Capriles as saying. "You are the loser, you and your government,” he said, vowing not to recognize the results “until each vote of the Venezuelan people has been counted."

The White House voiced tentative support for the opposition on Monday, with spokesman Jay Carney telling reporters an audit "seems like an important and prudent step to take," according to CNN

The election in Venezuela is being closely watched for potential changes to the socialist policies of longtime leader Chavez, who died in March. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130415/election-protests-erupt-venezuela