“We Are Millions” Protests in Venezuela

Photo: Prensa JPG /Leonel Sandrea

By Nestor Rojas (dpa)

HAVANA TIMES – At least 46 people were injured on Saturday after police used tear gas to disperse demonstrations called “Somos millones” (“We Are Millions”) which attempted to reach the center of Caracas from the east of the city, the largest demonstration of opposition strength in almost seven weeks of continuous protests in Venezuela, reported dpa news.

The opposition mayor of the Chacao municipality, Ramon Muchacho, said that the eastern town of Caracas recorded 46 injuries, 30 of them by blows and 11 with symptoms of asphyxia.

Six more wounded occurred in the skirmishes in the city of San Cristobal, in the region of Táchira, due to the Police onslaught against demonstrators.

The day of protests was aimed at pressuring for an advance of the presidential elections scheduled for the end of 2018.

The march was replicated in almost all 23 regions of the country to show the massive discontent. The violent incidents were recorded in Caracas, Táchira and the state of Anzoátegui, in the east.

“We are millions fighting with courage to rescue the constitutional order. Democracy is coming,” said the call to gather on a strip of the Francisco Fajardo highway, in the east of Caracas.

The concentration on the freeway moved in the direction of the Ministry of Interior headquarters in the center of the city, attending a call from the opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

The continuous protests against the government over nearly seven weeks have left 48 people dead, thousands injured and some 2,000 detainees. Saturday’s massive march was met by a security cordon that fired tear gas.

Capriles denounced that what happened was not an alteration of the public order, as the government calls protests against it, but a “criminal repression of the police”.

On the main stage, Capriles reported that the repression since April 4th has left almost 50 dead, 13,000 injured and 2,700 prisoners, of whom 200 have been transferred to military justice.

“This has been a massacre against the Venezuelan people. However, despite what they have done, the more repression there is, the more resistance, the more struggle, the more firmly the demand for free and democratic elections,” he said.

Capriles recalled that the demands of the government, in addition to the elections, are a solution to the problem of food and medicine shortages, respect for the opposition-dominated National Assembly, freedom of political prisoners and disarmament of civil groups, which he said are armed by the government to confront the protests.

The leader called on those present to march to the Interior Ministry, to present to the minister, Nestor Reverol, the demands of the opposition and call for an end to the repression of demonstrations.

The rotests began on April 4 after the opposition majority in the National Assembly accused the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) of carrying out a coup by issuing two sentences that stripped the legislature of its powers.

Maduro claims that with the demonstrations the opposition seeks to overthrow him by violent means and accuses legislative leader Julio Borges of leading the street violence plan.

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