Chavez Returns to Presidential Palace

Waved by supporting crowd, escorted by heavy-armed guards, deposed Venezuela President Hugo Chavez returned to the presidential palace here by helicopter early Sunday.

Tens of thousands supporters and journalists outside the presidential palace witnessed the return of Chavez at local time about three o'clock in the morning (0700 GMT). The president, who was arrested on Friday by several generals, issued no immediate statement but is expected to resume his post as Venezuela's President.

Chavez was picked up by a delegation of his supporters from the Orchila Island off the Venezuelan coast, where he had been detained for two days. He was forced to step down Friday for allegedly ordering gunmen to fire on a 150,000-strong opposition protest on Thursday.

Pedro Carmona, a businessman and co-leader of the strike, was named president by the military high command Friday. But demonstrations by Chavez supporters exploded soon, forcing Carmona to step down.

Chavez administration vice president Diosdado Cabello swore in Saturday as acting president only until Chavez could return to Caracas.

People's Daily Online ---