Thousands of Venezuelans have gathered in the capital, Caracas, to protest proposed constitutional reforms that would allow President Hugo Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely.

The demonstrators, vowing to fight for democracy and freedom, urge citizens to defeat the reforms when they vote in a December referendum.

On Friday, Venezuela's National Assembly overwhelmingly approved 69 constitutional changes and amendments.

The changes include provisions calling for Mr. Chavez's term in office to be extended from six to seven years, and the abolishment of presidential term limits.

Critics say the changes would severely weaken democracy and violate civil liberties.

President Chavez says the changes will help Venezuela advance toward what he calls "21st Century Socialism."

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