Bogota: Thousands of opponents of Hugo Chavez marched against the Venezuelan President across Latin America on Friday, accusing him of everything from authoritarianism to international meddling.
The protests, coordinated through Twitter and Facebook, drew more than 5,000 people in Bogota, and thousands more in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Smaller demonstrations were held in other Latin American capitals, as well as New York and Madrid.
The Honduras march was led by Roberto Micheletti, who became president when Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a June coup.
"Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won`t achieve it," Micheletti said. "We`ll stop him."
Chavez, who was travelling in Syria, ridiculed the protests, likening Micheletti to a gorilla and saying, "Those who want to march, march with `Goriletti,` the dictators, the extreme right."
Chavez supporters held smaller counter-demonstrations, including a Caracas rally that drew nearly 200 people. Police in Quito, Ecuador, intervened to keep pro- and anti-Chavez groups from clashing.
Turnout at the anti-Chavez rallies was far from massive in many cities. A dozen people gathered in Sao Paulo, while about 200 turned out in New York, Madrid and Miami. Protests also were held in the capitals of Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Panama and Bolivia.
Protest organiser Marcela Garzon in Colombia said she didn`t care about the numbers.
"The quantity doesn`t interest us, but rather the quality," she said.