Pro-Chavez activist charges for TV attack
CARACAS, Venezuela — A Venezuelan court accused a radical supporter of President Hugo Chavez on Thursday of assault and illegal use of a firearm — accusations stemming from an attack against an opposition-sided television channel.
The court upheld seven criminal charges against Lina Ron, the leader of a leftist political party, for her role in this week’s attack on the Globovision TV channel’s studios. The court ruled that Ron must remain in custody while she awaits trial.
On Monday, government supporters riding motorcycles and waving the flags of Ron’s party tossed tear gas canisters at Globovision, the country’s last over-the-air television station that is a strong critic of Chavez. Globovision broadcast video of the incident, allegedly showing Ron among the attackers.
Chavez has recognized Ron as an ally, but he has also criticized some of her actions. Last year, she led Chavez supporters when they stormed and temporarily occupied the offices of the Vatican’s representative in Caracas.
Globovision said one of its security guards suffered a burned hand when he tried to pick up a tear gas canister and a police officer posted outside was hit in the head by a hurled object and required stitches.
The channel’s director, Alberto Federico Ravell, claims some of the armed assailants threatened security guards.