As his presidency progressed, Chávez became increasingly unpopular among the upper and middle classes due to his economic reforms and disputes with business leaders. In April 2002 at least 17 people were killed in a march in Caracas to protest Chávez’s policies, and some people claimed that his supporters had killed the protestors. Military leaders then forced Chávez from power in a coup d'état. The next day tens of thousands of people, mainly the urban and rural poor, marched throughout the country to protest Chávez’s ouster.
In response to the protests, the military returned Chávez to power less than three days after it had removed him.
Although Chávez regained the presidency, many people continued to oppose his policies. In December 2002 a loose coalition that included labor unions, business leaders, and the Democratic Action Party organized a general strike to protest Chávez’s leadership. During the nearly three-month strike, many businesses, banks, and schools closed, and employees of the state-owned oil company slowed oil production. The strike devastated Venezuela’s already weak economy, and the country faced severe economic problems including high unemployment and inflation. "Venezuela" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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