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Rights activist says Venezuelan troops beat protesters for refusing to accept election result

  • ed697385ef1e560c2f0f6a706700cef8.jpg

    A "Chavista" demonstrator, and supporter of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, holds a photo of the late President Hugo Chavez during a march in front of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has presented a series of allegations of vote fraud and other irregularities to back up his demand for a vote-by-vote recount for the presidential election. Maduro, the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, was declared the winner by 262,000 votes out of 14.9 million cast, and Capriles contends the purported abuses add up to more than Maduro's winning margin. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)The Associated Press

  • b419f834ee5f530c2f0f6a706700fc17.jpg

    'Chavista' demonstrators, supporters of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, march in front of the National Electoral Council (CNE) in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has presented a series of allegations of vote fraud and other irregularities to back up his demand for a vote-by-vote recount for the presidential election. Maduro, the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, was declared the winner by 262,000 votes out of 14.9 million cast, and Capriles contends the purported abuses add up to more than Maduro's winning margin. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)The Associated Press

A Venezuelan human rights activist is accusing National Guard troops of beating opposition protesters who refused to recognize the election of Hugo Chavez's heir as president.

Alfredo Romero says the beatings happened in the western city of Barquisimeto after at least 300 protesters were arrested across Venezuela for backing the opposition's demand for a recount of the votes cast in Sunday's election.

Romero represents a network of more than 200 lawyers and calls the crackdown Venezuela's worst political persecution in seven years.

He says National Guard interrogators in Barquisimeto put a hat with a government insignia on detainees' heads and demanded they recognize Nicolas Maduro's election victory. He says detainees who didn't were struck.

Romero says more than 120 detainees were released Thursday, but many face criminal charges.