Police use tear gas to stop opposition march in Caracas
An opposition protest in Caracas called by the speaker of the legislature, Juan Guaido, recognized as acting president of Venezuela by some 50 countries, was scattered with tear gas this Saturday by the Bolivarian National Police (PNB).
EFE observed how an anti-riot squad blocked the demonstrators’ way forward, though they are still gathered in and around Victoria Avenue in southwest Caracas, the scene of the rally.
The Guaido team had previously complained that protesters weren’t allowed to install a platform in the area, and three of them were arrested for carrying the parts for putting it together, which were seized by the police.
Guaido reacted on Twitter, saying that the Nicolas Maduro government was in for “a surprise,” given that the opposition members were not about to leave the streets.
“They think they can tire us out, but they no longer have any way to stop people determined to end the usurpation. And today we’re going to demonstrate in the streets. Keep watching,” he added on Twitter, without offering any further details.
The protest being carried out across the country is part of the ever greater pressure applied by the opposition to force Maduro to step down from the office he has held since 2013.
It also comes after a new power outage this Saturday hit Caracas and several Venezuelan states where the electricity had been restored after the service at the country’s main hydroelectric plant went down last Thursday, leaving most of the country without electricity.
Some reports said that several states, where power had been reestablished after more than 30 hours without electricity, suffered another outage around 12:00 pm.
The service had gradually been restored since Friday in the eastern and central states of Venezuela, though more than half the country has gone 42 straight hours without electricity.
A demonstrator, who asked to remain anonymous, told reporters that Maduro is responsible for the severe economic crisis Venezuela is going through, and said she is “tired” of battling with emergencies.
“Out with Maduro, we don’t want him. This has to end, enough is enough,” she said very emotionally.
Venezuela has been going through a time of severe political tension since last January, when Guaido cited certain articles of the Venezuelan Constitution to claim the authority to declare himself interim president of the nation, on grounds that Maduro had “usurped” the presidency.
The Chavista leader took office last May in a controversial election that the opposition boycotted because it did not trust the honesty of Venezuela’s current electoral system, with the result that the legitimacy of Maduro’s second term is not recognized either by anti-Chavismo or by much of the international community.