Venezuelans gear up for opposition march

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 21, 2017

Before today's demonstration, President Nicolás Maduro - invoking his "defending peace" slogan - accused the opposition of engaging in "violence, conspiracy, [a] coup d'etat, and interventionism".

Authorities had previously reported five other people killed, including a boy of 13, in protests around the country earlier this month. On Wednesday, Maduro tried to enlist supporters to defend the Bolivarian revolution against capitalism, calling pro-government citizens to the street to fight what he called a USA -backed coup.

Anti-government protesters have described it as Venezuela's "second independence day". Journalists covering the protests reported suffering harassment at the hands of security forces and pro-government supporters, and a TV cable channel that reported on the protests was taken off the air. Tens of thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro flooded the streets of auto.

GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it's been the market leader for over 35 years.

A 17-year-old boy and a woman died after being shot Wednesday during massive protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, bringing to seven the number killed this month in a mounting political crisis. Previous marches attempting the same route have been met with security vehicles, tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police officers. Dozens had to slide down a concrete embankment and into the Guaire River to escape the noxious fumes.

Across the country, the clashes have been intense. The other two people killed amid Wednesday's demonstrations included a teenager who was heading to a soccer match with friends.

As the latest clashes broke out in the capital with riot police firing tear gas to push back stone-throwing demonstrators, an unidentified man on a motorcycle shot the boy in the head, witnesses said.

"This is a call for reflection to officials of the armed forces to think about the role they are playing in this moment of Venezuela's history", he said.

Ramirez and Romero are the sixth and seventh victims since protests began three weeks ago over the Supreme Court's decision to strip the opposition-controlled congress of its last remaining powers after a year-long power battle.

The Opposition called for renewed nationwide protests to pressure the government of to hold elections and improve a collapsing economy. Mr. In the tweet, Trump called for Venezuela to release its political prisoners. Maduro resisted opposition efforts to hold a referendum in time to remove him from power before the end of his term.

Venezuela has been hit by violent demonstrations sparked by the Supreme Court's ruling to annul the legislature.

But the government has shown little interest in backing down.

Hundreds of anti-government opposition protesters in Venezuela clashed with security forces at various points around capital city Caracas on Wednesday.

The opposition says he has morphed into a dictator and accuses his government of using armed civilians to spread violence and fear. Maduro acuses the U.S. government of plotting a "coup attempt".

As tensions have mounted, the government has used its almost-complete control of Venezuela's institutions to pursue its opponents.

In response to Wednesday's massive protests, which had always been in the works, Al Jazeera reports Maduro ordered the Venezuelan military to march in Caracas in "defense of morality" and "in repudiation of the traitors of the country".

Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and repressive stance of the government.

But the throngs of protesters weren't well-payed US plants but Venezuelan citizens braving tear gas to protest a government that has overseen hyperinflation, food and medicine scarcity, years of recession, continually delayed elections, alleged vice presidential drug trafficking, and a president who seems unwilling or unable to respond to any of the above.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday he's concerned that Maduro's government is violating its own constitution and that he's watching the situation closely.

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