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Venez. president confirms govt seeking arrest of Venezuelan opposition leader

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    Opposition demonstrators, one holding a statue of the Virgin Mary, and another holding a sign that reads in Spanish "Freedom for the prisoners," protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Demonstrators are protesting the Wednesday killings of two university students who were shot in different incidents following an anti-government protest demanding the release of student protesters arrested in various parts of the country. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

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    A masked opposition demonstrator holds up a poster that reads in Spanish "Ideas are bullet proof! Freedom always!" at a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Demonstrators are protesting the Wednesday killings of two university students who were shot in different incidents after an anti-government protest demanding the release of student protesters arrested in various parts of the country. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

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    An opposition protester stands in silence with her arms painted with the words in Spanish "To create freedom" during a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Demonstrators are protesting the Wednesday killings of two university students who were shot in different incidents after an anti-government protest demanding the release of student protesters arrested in various parts of the country. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

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    Opposition Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado speaks to protesters in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Demonstrators are protesting the Wednesday killings of two university students who were shot in different incidents after an anti-government protest demanding the release of student protesters arrested in various parts of the country. The sign behind reads in Spanish "Bolivarian National Guard, what do you want for your children?" (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says a police manhunt is underway for opposition leader Leopold Lopez.

Maduro addressed Lopez at a rally in Caracas, saying, "Turn yourself in coward." Maduro also denounced what he said is a "fascist" plot to oust him from power.

Maduro didn't mention Lopez by name, referring to him only by a frequently-used disparaging nickname.

The president said security forces acting on a February 12 arrest order are now looking for the leader of Wednesday's anti-government protests, which resulted in deadly clashes with police and government supporters. Lopez hasn't been seen since a Wednesday night press conference.

El Universal newspaper published Thursday a leaked copy of what it said was an arrest order for Lopez on charges ranging from vandalism to terrorism. Until now no government official had confirmed Lopez's arrest was being sought.