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Venezuelans Burn US Flag, Temporarily Strand US Ambassador


U.S. officials in Venezuela say supporters of President Hugo Chavez burned a U.S. flag, set tires on fire and surrounded a building that the American ambassador was visiting Wednesday, temporarily trapping him inside.

Officials say Ambassador William Brownfield was stranded for at least two hours as the demonstrators gathered outside, chanting anti-U.S. slogans. No injuries were reported during the protest.

The incident took place days after a Venezuelan newspaper printed an interview with Ambassador Brownfield, who said Washington is concerned over Venezuela's growing ties with Iran.

Venezuela's government often clashes with the United States. President Chavez recently criticized President Bush, following a White House report which called Mr. Chavez a demagogue.

Although relations between the two countries are tense, Venezuela is still a key supplier of oil to the U.S. market.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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