Venezuela opposition marches against President Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) " Police in riot gear on Friday blocked protesters from rallying in downtown Caracas outside election officials' headquarters to demand a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.

Hundreds of thousands of opposition protesters had poured into the streets earlier in September to demand Maduro's removal. Friday's march was significantly smaller.

The opposition has staged about a dozen marches this year as election officials drag their feet on demands to let the recall process go ahead. Law enforcement has blocked protesters from reaching downtown every time.

Congress President Henry Ramos said Friday that Venezuelans cannot be denied their constitutional right to protest.

Maduro on Thursday renewed for 60 days his declaration of a state of economic emergency. The state of emergency allows him to exercise special decree powers.

The president's approval ratings are languishing as the country grapples with a worsening economic crisis, and polls indicate he would lose a recall vote.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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