Feb. 27 - Venezuela's president hosts national peace conference in the face of anti-government protests despite a boycott by some of his opponents. Paul Chapman reports
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Venezuelans bury their dead in San Cristobal where paratroops have been sent to rein in anti-government protests. The city's in a region hard hit by the widespread unrest in which at least 13 people have died. One of the victims was watching the protests from his apartment balcony when he was killed - some say by a stray bullet, others by a tear gas canister. The funerals were taking place on the same day President Nicolas Maduro was hosting a national peace conference. San Cristobal's mayor was not planning to attend. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) DANIEL CEBALLOS, MAYOR OF SAN CRISTOBAL, SAYING: "What to do? Go to necessary but insincere dialogue or stay here with our people. Without a doubt we will stay here until the government decides to be sincere, until they stop repression, until they demilitarise Tachira state. You can't have a battalion over people who are kind and hard-working." Maduro's national peace conference went ahead despite a boycott by the most prominent opposition figures. They say the gathering is just a smokescreen to avoid tackling the nation's real problems. The protesters want Maduro to step down. Their grievances include basic food shortages, high inflation, high levels of violent crime and what they consider repression of political rivals.