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Violence erupts in Venezuela when challenger campaigns in Chavez stronghold

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A station wagon filled with Capriles' campaign fliers also was trashed as people broke the windows, ripped out the headlights and began to pull out parts from under the hood. The campaign fliers were left scattered on the ground.

Carabobo state Gov. Henrique Salas Feo, a Chavez opponent, condemned the violence on television saying, "The country needs peace."

National Guard troops arrived at the airport afterward.

Tensions have sporadically unleashed violent clashes and scuffles between supporters of the two candidates ahead of the Oct. 7 presidential vote, in which Chavez is seeking another six-year term.

National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena condemned the violence, saying it appeared to have been provoked by a group of people. She didn't lay blame on either political camp.

Jorge Rodriguez,Chavez's campaign manager, blamed government opponents and said the Carabobo police, which are under Salas' command,attacked Chavez's partisans.

Rodriguez said government supporters "have a right to protest and demonstrate freely" against Capriles< visit.

"The police arrived and savagely attacked the people," Rodriguez said on television, adding that Chavez<s campaign has photos of Carabobo police officers in civilian clothing participating in the violence.

Kelvis Olleda, a 15-year-old Chavez supporter, blamed the opposition for provoking the incident.

"They started this. They were looking for us," Olleda said, holding a stick as he joined the pro-Chavez crowd.

Endris Quintero, a Capriles supporter, stood watching as people threw rocks. "It isn't fair," he said. "It's an act of vandalism."

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