Violence escalates in divided Venezuela

2014-02-20 21:27
A motorcyclist carries Venezuelan model Genesis Carmona, injured during an anti-government protest in Valencia. (Mauricio Centeno, AFP)

A motorcyclist carries Venezuelan model Genesis Carmona, injured during an anti-government protest in Valencia. (Mauricio Centeno, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Caracas - Security forces faced off with demonstrators in streets blocked by burning barricades in several Venezuelan cities on Thursday in an escalation of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, witnesses said.

At least five people have died since protests turned violent last week, with scores injured and arrested.

The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, shortages of many products and the alleged repression of opponents.

In affluent east Caracas overnight, security forces fired tear gas and bullets, chasing youths who threw Molotov cocktails and blocked streets with burning trash, witnesses said.

Residents in middle-class neighbourhoods banged pots and pans in a traditional form of protest, and demonstrators were out again from early on Thursday.

Coup Allegations

"I declare myself in civil disobedience", read one banner held up by demonstrators spread across a Caracas road.

There were similar scenes in the western Andean states of Tachira and Merida that have been especially volatile since hard line opposition leaders called supporters onto the streets in early February demanding Maduro's departure.

In San Cristobal city, which some residents are describing as a "war zone", many businesses remained shut as students and police faced off in the streets again on Thursday.

With local TV channels not covering the unrest, Venezuelans are turning to social media to swap information and images, though falsified photos are also circulating.

Tensions have escalated since opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, turned himself in to troops this week. He is being held in Caracas’s Ramo Verde jail and faces charges of fomenting the violence.

"Change depends on every one of us. Don't give up!" Lopez's wife Lilian Tintori said via Twitter early on Thursday.

Maduro, who was narrowly elected last year to succeed socialist leader Hugo Chavez after his death from cancer, says Lopez and others are in league with the US government and are seeking a coup.

The latest direct victim of the unrest was a college student and local beauty queen, Genesis Carmona, aged 22, shot in the head during a demonstration in the central city of Valencia.

In an indirectly linked death, state television channel VTV said the mother of one its employees died on Wednesday as she was being rushed to hospital in Caracas. VTV said she suffered a heart attack while the ambulance carrying her was stuck in gridlock due to opposition supporters blocking roads.

"We cannot underestimate those fascist groups whose boss is behind bars", Maduro said in a speech late on Wednesday, showing videos and photos of violence he said was being perpetrated against government supporters and buildings.

"I'm not playing with democracy. I do not accept that they challenge the Venezuelan people and our constitution."

Speaking in Mexico, US President Barack Obama criticized Maduro's government for arresting protesters and urged it to focus on addressing the "legitimate grievances" of its people.

Read more on:    nicolas maduro  |  venezuela
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Edgemead 06:56 AM
Road name: N7 Northbound

DELAYS approaching the Bosmansdam Road exit

Rondebosch 06:56 AM
Road name: M5 Northbound

HEAVY DELAYS between Ottery and the N2 Highway Interchange

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to combine imagination, information and creativity together. Try not to over rationalise things and rather...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.