A group comprised of the family members of some of the students detained over the past three months of protests held a press conference today, where they asked for the release of their children. Susan Rojas, whose son – Luis Gonzalo Perez Rojas – has been incarcerated since April 26, said:
We’ve gathered here today to demand from Nicolas Maduro and Rodriguez Torres [Minister of Justice] for the unconditional release of our sons, who have become political prisoners of this regime.
The group argued that while the overwhelming majority of students were within their constitutional right to peaceful protest, the government responded by “unleashing a brutal repression” that includes arbitrary detentions and summary trials. Chief among the concerns of the parents is that the students are sometimes held in notoriously dangerous prisons, such as Tocuyito and Tocoron.
The group also complained against what they consider to be arbitrary and intentionally onerous requirements to post bail for their children. On the subject, Susan Rojas pointed out:
How can they are demand that we provide proof of employment that shows that we make a high salary of between 15,000 and 25,000 bolivares? Who can provide a document meeting those standards, given the depressing condition of our country?
For reference, the minimum wage in Venezuela was recently increased 30% to around 4,000 bolivares.
El Universal is reporting through Twitter that the students who were arrested yesterday in Caracas are starting to stream out of the court room in which their audience was being held. Below is a picture of the scene this evening:
Speaking specifically on the issue of holding detained students in maximum security prisons, Maria Corina Machado today said:
They fear the students so much that they send them to maximum security prisons. Here in Maracay they took two to Uribana and five to El Rodeo. Yesterday in Caracas, 120 were detained and they held an audience before 120 of them, something without precedent in our history. By doing so they want to instil fear, but today I come to Maracay to let you know that we recognize [your struggle] and support the people of Aragua, because your conviction and organization has been exemplary.
A picture from somewhere in Tachira today, showing a group of demonstrators in a cloud of tear gas:
Finally, there are confrontations taking place in Altamira right now, which appear to have started earlier this afternoon: