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Venezuela17 October 2003

Community radio station attacked

Reporters Without Borders today condemned as "unacceptable" an attack on a Venezuelan community radio station, Parroquiana 90.1 FM, by opposition supporters and called on the authorities to investigate.

"We urge the leaders of the opposition Democratic Action party to firmly denounce the attack and expel those responsible from the party," said secretary-general Robert Ménard.

Five men burst into the station on 11 October, interrupting a broadcast and smashing equipment. They threatened to burn down the premises and set upon presenter Antonio Bencomo and producer Luz Mely Morán before leaving. The station is in San José de Perijá, near Machique, along the border with Colombia.

The station’s chief, Hersilia León, said the attackers included two local Democratic Action leaders - village official Onelio Méndez and school bus-driver Alexander Salvidia - and that the attack came after the head of a neighbourhood association accused the two men on the radio of using the bus for their own purposes.

The station filed a complaint with the police, the local prosecutor’s office and the national telecommunications authority, Conatel.

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