The Marcha de la Ollas Vacias Contra el Hambre y por El Cambio [The Empty Pots March Against Hunger and for Change] took to the streets of Caracas and several other major cities in Venezuela today. The march was organized by the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), and was staged to protest the country’s economic crisis.
Although the march was not scheduled to start until 10:00 AM local time, there was increased police and National Guard presence near the demonstration’s rally points well before kick-off time:
A National Guard truck just south of the Chacao subway station:
National Guard vehicles near Altamira:
Below, what appears to be a shot of the same trucks seen in the image above, but from a different angle:
National Guard troops in Chacao:
The demonstration began at approximately 10:00 AM at three separate points in Caracas. Below, an image of demonstrators at the Plaza Alfredo Sadel at around 11:20 AM:
At the same time, demonstrators were also meeting in Chacao:
Demonstrators also marched in Maracaibo, Zulia state. The picture below was taken near the Plaza de la Republica:
In Porlamar, Nueva Esparta state, demonstrators gathered at the Plaza Bolivar de Porlamar:
The Bolivar Avenue in Valencia, Carabobo state:
The Paseo Cabriales Avenue in Valencia:
In Caracas. the head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, spoke to crowds at the height of the demonstration:
Maria Corina Machado also addressed the crowd in Chacaito:
Lilian Tintori, Leopoldo Lopez’s wife, was also present:
Chaco Subway Station Closed; Protesters Block Avenue
Although the majority of demonstrators appear to have dispersed, a number of protesters have blocked the Francisco de Miranda Avenue in Caracas, where they are currently faced off against security forces. The Chacao subway station, which is near the site, is currently closed. Below, some pictures of the scene:
Armed Group Attacks Apartment Building in Caracas
A video has appeared on YouTube appearing to show a confrontation involving a colectivo aramado in the San Martin neighbourhood of Caracas. The event took place last night at around 11:30 PM.
The video can be seen below:
According to a witness who was inside the building at the time of the event, a “colectivo armado” [a pro-government armed group] assaulted the building last night. The woman, who spoke to a reporter from La Patilla via telephone last night, said that she witnessed National Police officers watching the colectivo attack from a nearby street corner without taking action, only doing so once the colectivo had left the area.
The woman also claims that the reason the colectivo attacked the building was that they wanted to gain entry to the residences, because “they want the apartments”. The woman was able to take refuge with approximately 40 other residents in the penthouse of the building to which they fled once the assault began.
Another resident of the tower told the same reporter that the colectivo had been deliberately sent to attack them after they filed an official complaint against the Ministry of Habitat and Housing:
Reporter: What’s happening there? What’s the situation?
Woman: A colectivo, because we don’t want to be part of… we’re squatters, [inaudible], and someone committed fraud. When we made the complaint, they sent the colectivo after us. And because we didn’t want to leave, they came in here and killed three people. And they have us locked up here on the third floor with children.
Reporter: You said that three people have been shot?
Woman: Yes, I saw a dead person down there. I tried to help him but I couldn’t.
Reporter: Are you sure they’re dead? Try to calm down.
Woman: Yes, they’re dead, they’re dead. Listen to me. [inaudible] It’s because we made the complaint. We’ve made a complaint against the government. Please, tell the press…
According to the same woman, neighbours from the building filed a complaint against the Ministry of Habitat and Housing because they were not being given homes promised to them after they had refused to pay a bribe. The woman was convinced that the colectivo had been sent by someone from the Ministry to forcibly remove them from the building as punishment for their complaint.
The entire six-minute interview between the reporter from La Patilla and the two women in the building can be heard here in Spanish.
Maduro Travels to Saudi Arabia
Maduro is en-route to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, were he will attend the funeral of the late King Adullah. Abdullah died early yesterday morning, Saudi Arabia time, after nearly five years on the Saudi throne.