Venezuelan opposition protests again against Maduro
Venezuela's opposition renewed nationwide protests on Thursday to pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro to hold elections and improve a collapsing economy, a day after three people were killed in similar demonstrations, APA reports quoting Reuters.
However, crowds were smaller than the hundreds of thousands of people who flooded the streets of Caracas and provincial cities on Wednesday, the latest and largest in several weeks of protests against what Maduro's opponents condemn as a lurch toward dictatorship.
Government officials dismiss the protests, characterized by street barricades and clashes with security forces, as violent and lawless efforts to overthrow Maduro's leftist government with the backing of ideological adversaries in Washington.
The opposition counters that Maduro, deeply unpopular as Venezuelans grapple with triple-digit inflation and shortages of food and basic consumer goods, is seeking to stay in power indefinitely by barring opposition leaders from office and quashing independent state institutions.
At around midday on Thursday, a few thousand people protested in Caracas, although opposition lawmakers accused security forces of using excessive tear gas and force to block the marches.
"It's time for the armed forces to realize that they're protecting corrupt leaders and not the Venezuelan people," said opposition lawmaker Jorge Millan, who represents part of the poor hilltop Caracas neighborhood of 23 de Enero, once a government stronghold.
The opposition had called on its supporters to gather at about two dozen points around Caracas and march to the office of the state ombudsman, a human rights activist, just as they tried to do on Wednesday.
The current wave of marches, the most sustained protests against Maduro since 2014, has sparked regular melees in which youths and National Guard troops exchange volleys of rocks and tear gas. There were also late-night barricades and some looting in Caracas' middle class neighborhood of El Paraiso on Wednesday night.
Two students and a National Guard sergeant were killed in Wednesday's demonstrations, bringing the death toll in demonstrations this month to eight. Rights group Penal Forum said more than 500 people were arrested in relation to Wednesday's protest and 334 remained in detention.
"We are concerned about the latest developments in Venezuela and urge that all efforts be made to lower tensions and prevent further clashes," a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Thursday.
Maduro, 54, called on his backers to stage counter-demonstrations in Caracas on Wednesday. Supporters of the president, who was elected in 2013 and assumed the socialist mantle of late leader Hugo Chavez, say the opposition's street protests are violent disruptions of public order that exceed the rights of free assembly and would not be tolerated in any other country.
Related news releases
- 19.01.2018Car plows into crowd in Rio de Janeiro, 15 injured
- 19.01.2018Ex-CIA Director Stansfield Turner dead at 94; served under Carter
- 19.01.2018US House appoves short-term spending bill, avoid shutdown
- 19.01.2018US army tests secure Wi-Fi to increase troop ‘mobility and flexibility’
- 19.01.2018US calls on Turkey not to take action in Syria’s Afrin
- 18.01.2018UN issues list of 5 alternative names for Macedonia
- 18.01.2018Train crashes in Mexico City suburb, killing at least five
- 18.01.2018Trump denies U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem within a year
- 18.01.2018Trump accuses Russia of helping North Korea evade sanctions; says U.S. needs more missile defense
- 18.01.2018At least 5 dead as winter storm wracks southern US
- 18.01.2018US will consider Turkey’s concerns about PKK: Tillerson
- 18.01.2018U.S. signals open-ended presence in Syria
- 17.01.2018Venezuela helicopter pilot Oscar Pérez killed in raid
- 17.01.2018U.S.-led meeting urges North Korea pressure despite North-South detente
- 17.01.2018Internal solution to Syria would be better: UN chief
- 17.01.2018US withholds $65M aid to Palestine: State Dept
- 17.01.2018Trump administration to appeal 'Dreamer' immigrant ruling
- 16.01.2018At least seven killed in military helicopter crash in Colombia - Army
- 16.01.2018US president hails Qatar anti-terror role
- 15.01.2018Russia’s Lavrov slams US statements on Iran nuclear deal
- 14.01.201813 dead, 39 hurt in multi-vehicle crash in Brazil
- 14.01.2018False missile alert sparks Hawaii panic
- 14.01.2018Trump, Lighthizer discuss China, NAFTA trade talks: White House
- 13.01.2018General Motors reveals self-driving car without steering wheel - VİDEO
- 13.01.2018Florida monkeys to be evicted after study finds they carry lethal Herpes B virus
- 13.01.2018Death toll from California mudslides climbs to 18
- 13.01.2018Food riots in Venezuela leave four dead, 16 wounded
- 13.01.2018Trump should apologize for any vulgar language, says Haiti's ambassador to U.S.
- 13.01.2018U.S. sanctions head of Iran's judiciary, others, over human rights abuses
- 13.01.2018Reluctant Trump grants sanctions relief to Iran one last time
- 12.01.2018Trump uses vulgarity in describing Haiti, African nations
- 12.01.2018Zuckerberg announces new changes to Facebook
- 12.01.2018Trump says he has a "very good relationship" with Kim Jong Un
- 12.01.2018Key Fed official slams U.S. tax cuts for imperiling economy
- 12.01.2018US Treasury to impose new sanctions on Iran
- 11.01.2018Trump to attend Davos economic forum: White House
- 11.01.2018State Dep't: US to fight Iran's presence in Syria with aggressive sanctions
- 11.01.2018Trump says US could stay in Paris climate accord
- 11.01.2018Death toll rises to 17 in California mudslides
- 11.01.2018US: Pence to head delegation to South Korea Olympics
- 20.04.2017US secretary of defense arrives in Israel for talks
- 20.04.2017UN Security Council condemns North Korea missile test
- 21.04.2017Latin America nations condemn Venezuela violence
- 20.04.2017Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News amid sexual misconduct allegations
- 20.04.2017Venezuelan protests against government leave two students dead
- 20.04.201714 dead in Colombia landslides