Hundreds evacuated in Venezuela as tear gas seeps into homes

2017-05-09 19:55
A Venezuelan opposition activist is pictured next to a burning barricade during a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. (Ronaldo Schemidt, AFP)

A Venezuelan opposition activist is pictured next to a burning barricade during a demonstration against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. (Ronaldo Schemidt, AFP)

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

Maracaibo - Hundreds of people were evacuated from buildings in this big coastal city in western Venezuela on Monday after security forces fired tear gas during a clash with protesters and the gas spilled into homes, schools and a hospital.

The protest turned violent when demonstrators were blocked by national guardsmen while trying to deliver a letter expressing their disdain for socialist President Nicolas Maduro's push to rewrite the nation's constitution.

Protesters tried to get around the officers by finding another route but were pushed back by heavy clouds of tear gas in a raucous exchange that continued for more than an hour, witnesses said.

Juan Diego Amado, an anti-government activist, said he entered one building housing a foundation housing about 300 children and elderly residents and found many coughing and in tears after inhaling the fumes.

Volunteers rushed children still in diapers, others in strollers and the elderly in wheelchairs out of the building to hospitals for treatment. 

Amado said he helped about four children get to clear air, describing the image of them gasping to breathe as "heart-breaking for anyone".

Rewriting constitution 

The clash came as Venezuelans unhappy with food shortages, triple-digit inflation and high crime were out in the streets again on Monday after more than a month of protests demanding elections.

The unrest began after the Supreme Court stripped congress of its last powers, a decision it later reversed amid a torrent of international criticism.

Tensions have heightened since Maduro began a push last week to hold a special assembly to rewrite the constitution. Opposition leaders charge the move is a ploy to keep the president and his allies in power.

At least 38 people have been killed and more than 750 injured in the unrest.

Continued protests in Venezuela's capital on Monday resulted in 60 people being injured, said Ramon Muchacho, a Caracas-area mayor.

Meanwhile, at the presidential palace, government officials met with political and religious leaders to discuss the planned constitutional assembly.

Key opposition leaders refused to participate, contending that Maduro does not have the authority to call for a constitution rewrite without first putting the initiative to a vote by the general public.


Read more on:    nicolas maduro  |  venezuela

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
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.