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Chavez Opponent Calls for Referendum on RCTV Closure

A leading opponent of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called for a referendum on the government's closure of Radio Caracas Television.

Former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales said a referendum should decide whether the opposition-aligned network should be put back on the air. He said President Chavez is attempting to control the media in Venezuela.

The government shut down the station Sunday, sparking mass protests. Police have arrested more than 180 people, mostly university students and minors, for allegedly violent acts during the protests. Rosales has called for their release.

Protests have continued since the closure.

The Chavez government refused to renew the licence of RCTV, accusing it of violating broadcasting laws. The government replaced the network with a new state-funded channel, Venezuelan Social Television.

On Monday, Venezuelan officials said they were investigating another television channel, Globovision, alleging it had encouraged an attempt on the president's life. Globovision officials have rejected the allegations.

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