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Poll rivals urged to avoid violence

Venezuela's top election official is urging allies and adversaries of President Hugo Chavez to prevent violent conflicts as they campaign ahead of an October 7 presidential election.

Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council, said the country's political rivals should call on their supporters to avoid violence.

Concerns regarding the possibility of political violence surfaced following a scuffle involving stone-throwing Chavez supporters and opposition sympathisers who joined opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles as he led a march in the poor Caracas district of La Vega.

No serious injuries were reported.

Police forced Mr Capriles to turn back without completing the march, prompting accusations that Mr Chavez is trying to prevent his opponent from making inroads within predominantly poor neighbourhoods.

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