It's pots vs firecrackers in protests in polarized post-election Venezuela

It's pot-banging protests vs. pro-government fireworks in postelection Venezuela. The acoustic clash is allowing both sides to vent steam while avoiding, at least for now, street battles that in the past have turned bloody.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles has demanded a recount of Sunday's election that official results show him narrowly losing to the late Hugo Chavez's hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro.

As the National Electoral Council proclaimed Maduro the victor, Capriles' supporters stood on their balconies in Caracas apartment buildings banging pots and pans in protest. Later, they resumed their pot-banging as Maduro held a news conference, some pouring out into the streets.

Maduro's supporters tried to drown out the noise by setting off firecrackers.

With Maduro urging government supporters to march in the capital Wednesday, Capriles canceled an opposition protest and urged his followers instead to stay home and stage pot-banging protests Tuesday night and for the rest of the week.

Speaking in the central city of Maracay, Maduro called on his supporters to counter pot-banging with more firecrackers.

"If they call a cacerolazo (pot-banging protest) of hate, of intolerance, of aggression against the family, then we will call a great Bolivarian firecracker (demonstration), chavista, popular and of peace," Maduro said in a speech transmitted on state radio and television.


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