Thousands of Venezuelans protest against U.S. sanctions

10:52, May 30, 2011      

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Thousands of Venezuelans, including cabinet members and other senior government officials, rallied here Sunday to protest against U.S. sanctions on the South American nation's state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

The march began in the downtown Catia Square at 11:00 a.m. local time (1530 GMT) and lasted for three hours. Wearing red clothes, the color of the country's ruling party, the protesters chanted the slogan "Venezuela should be respected."

The demonstration was called by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and government officials were among the protesters, including cabinet members, governors, mayors and leaders of the PSUV.

Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who is also president of the PDVSA, said the protest was meant to reject the pressures of the U.S. imperialism against Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed the protest via his Twitter account.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on seven foreign companies, including PDVSA and Israeli Ofer Brothers Group, which it said are involved in providing Iran with gasoline and other refined petroleum products.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said that the sanctions were aimed to prevent Iran from getting resources to support its allegedly "illegal nuclear activities".

Source: Xinhua
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