Venezuela Protests: Hospital Tear-Gassed, Chaos Ensues as Protests Intensify

Apr 13, 2017, 01:34
Venezuela Protests: Hospital Tear-Gassed, Chaos Ensues as Protests Intensify

Monday's planned march is the latest in a series of anti-government protests held in Venezuela since a controversial decision by the country's Supreme Court to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers.

The protesters were seen carrying Venezuelan flags and anti-Maduro signs as they hurled rocks and sticks at police.

Demonstrators gathered in several cities on Monday for a fourth round of protests in 10 days, blocking the main highway through Caracas in the morning until they were dispersed by National Guard troops.

Government officials blame the opposition for inciting violence and detained 18 people Monday.

Most of the protesters are peaceful and say street action is their only option after authorities past year blocked a recall referendum to remove Maduro.

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The opposition members also said security forces are banned from using tear gas as Venezuela's Constitution prohibits the government from using weapons or toxic substances, such as tear gas, to repel peaceful protesters.

More than 200 people were injured in the demonstration. He said his son had "bad luck" to be caught in the melee.

We firmly support the consensus of the Organization of American States Permanent Council, which affirms it is essential that the Government of Venezuela ensure the full restoration of democratic order.

However, the opposition, which has been protesting in the last two weeks to demand early elections, pounced on the incident as evidence that Maduro is deeply despised amid food shortages and spiraling inflation. According to human rights groups, there are more than 100 political prisoners in Venezuelan jails. Illegal wildcat marches have also been held by the MUD opposition coalition, which has accused the government of reacting with "repression" to the unrest.

The opposition is demanding a date for gubernatorial elections, meant to be held previous year, and is seeking early presidential elections.

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The protesters on Saturday included 26-year-old Victoria Paez, who sported a baseball cap bearing the slogan "There's a Way!" from Capriles' 2012 presidential run against the late Hugo Chavez.

A smaller group later moved to the upscale Altamira district, a common site for protests during the last 15 years, where demonstrators set up barricades of tires and burning trash along a major avenue.

For its part, the national government has rejected the violence and says that the opposition is deliberately promoting chaos in a bid to bring about regime change in Venezuela.

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