Friday, February 13, 2015

Protesters Clash with Venezuelan Police after Marches


Several disturbances were registered later on Thursday in eastern Caracas and in the town of San Cristobal in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira

CARACAS – Thousands of supporters of late President Hugo Chavez marched on Thursday in Caracas “for peace and justice” and to commemorate the 201st anniversary of the so-called Victory Battle, which coincided with the anniversary of the start of opposition protests last year in which 43 people died.

Several disturbances were registered later on Thursday in eastern Caracas and in the town of San Cristobal in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira.

Efe was able to determine that a small group of masked youths erected four barricades on Francisco de Miranda and Helice avenues near the Chacao metro station in Caracas.

The youths used bricks, cement and bags of trash to construct the barricades, which they later set on fire.

They also threw stones and other objects at police who came to the site to monitor the situation until they were replaced by members of the Bolivarian National Guard, Venezuela’s militarized police, who fired rubber bullets at the protesters and made several arrests.

In the state of Tachira, Gov. Jose Vielma Mora wrote on his Twitter account that “12 police officers” had been injured in a “violent rightist demonstration.”

Meanwhile, the mayor of the town of San Cristobal, Patricia de Ceballos, said that security forces moved against young people who marched in the city and intended to go to the Ombudsman’s Office there “to demand the release of political prisoners.”

Participating in the march by government supporters, which moved through downtown Caracas, were students, Chavista supporters and government officials, who put up with the heavy downpour that opened up on them shortly after the mid-point of the march in the municipality of Libertador.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was expected to appear at the end of the march, earlier sent a “greeting” to the country’s young people and said on his Twitter account that they are continuing to move down the great highway of the revolution from victory to victory.

The Chavista march coincided with another smaller one staged by people opposing the government, which also made its way through downtown Caracas and ended without incident.

A year ago, at the end of an anti-government march called by students and in which opposition figures such as Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez participated, there were a series of violent incidents that resulted in three deaths.

The events of that day marked the beginning of a series of protests against the Maduro government that lasted for four months and resulted in 43 deaths and hundreds of people injured and arrested.

The government and the opposition blamed one another for the deaths and injuries resulting from the violence.


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