Leopoldo Lopez’s trial is set to resume today, and a decision on the case could come before the end of the day. Lopez stands accused along with three students, one of whom fled the country last week and is seeking political asylum in the United States.
Susana Barreiros, the 28th Court judge [the trial judge] has not yet determined how long this will take. Then, each accused will give a statement and the judge will retire to deliberate. Leopoldo will make use of the three hours he is allotted.
Gutierrez also pointed out that it’s possible that the trial will continue into tomorrow and beyond. He also said that last night, he attempted to review some case files in order to prepare for today’s proceedings, but was denied access to them.
Demonstrators Attacked by Pro-Government Group; 1 Killed
A group of demonstrators who were gathered outside the Palacio de Justicia in Caracas where the Lopez trial is taking place was attacked by a pro-government group earlier today. Horacio Blanco, a Voluntad Popular supporter, suffered a heart attack during the attack and died on the scene.
Earlier in the afternoon, National Assembly candidate Jacqueline Faria made a call through Twitter for her “comrades” to head to the Plaza Diego Ibarra near the Palacio de Justicia.
Freddy Guevara, the national coordinator of the Voluntad Popular party, said after the event the National Guard “along with colectivos” [pro-government groups] had “ambushed” opposition supporters. Guevara said Manuela Bolivar, an opposition candidate from the Capital District, was beaten during the attack.
The video below, taken by a La Patilla’s Roman Camacho, shows the chaotic scenes outside the Palacio de Justicia earlier today. Below, some key points in the video:
- 0:25: Freddy Guevara answer a question from the reporter, which I’ve translated below.
- 2:08: someone throw a stick into the opposition crowd.
- 2:40, the reporter points out that the National Guard soldiers present earlier at the scene “have retired, and have allowed the two demonstrations to merge”. At that time, the pro-government supporters begin to chant, “Fuera! Fuera!” [“Leave! Leave!”], and begin to move on the opposition supporters.
- 3:10: opposition supporters can be seen attempting to move away from the scene as the pro-government crowd moves on them. The opposition supporters move along a narrow corridor, flanked on one side by National Guard soldiers and on the other by the angry crowd.
- 4:15: scuffles break out between the two groups, and the pro-government crowd begins throwing more objects at the fleeing opposition supporters.
- 4:30: a man can be seen hitting opposition supporters with a long stick.
- 5:05: a man yelling through a loudspeaker can be heard saying, “Out with the fascists! Out with the traitors! Out with those who sympathize with imperialism! This is Chavista territory, it is peaceful territory! We will not allow you to try to destabilize [inaudible] with your violent actions!”
- 5:40: panic appears to set in and the scattered crowd of opposition supporters begins to run away from the scene. The pro-government crowd continues to give chase.
- 7:10: the reporter points out that the National Guard is doing nothing to control the pro-government protesters, who are still chasing the opposition supporters.
- 7:20: the report points out that Freddy Guevara and at least some of his entourage have taken refuge inside a local business. An angry crowd can be seen congregating outside the business. National Guard soldiers can be seen steps away from the confrontation taking no steps to defuse the situation.
- 8:10: A woman and what appears to be at least one more person are beaten with sticks and a motorcycle helmet within arm’s reach of National Guard soldiers.
- 8:30: The pro-government crowd begins to chant, “Victory! Victory! Popular victory!”
- 8:50: National Guard soldiers break up a scuffle.
- 9:27: A pro-government supporter yells at the camera, “Tell [unintelligible] that we are the ones in charge her, not the oligarchy. You won’t come back [to power]! You won’t come back! Take a video of this, you won’t come back! Huevon! [an insult that essentially means, “idiot”].
Below, my translation of what Freddy Guevara says at 0:25:
Reporter: Freddy, is this demonstration called here by the government a provocation over what’s going on here today?
Guevara: Look, it’s really sad that there are still people who support scarcity, insecurity, this whole disaster. Well, we don’t know if they’re being paid, or if they really believe that. It’s very unlikely that they still believe in this [government]. We are here peacefully, and the national government is responsible for whatever happens here today.
Below, some images from the events outside the Palacio de Justicia earlier today:
PSUV supporters burning Voluntad Popular flags:
As of the writing of this entry (6:30 PM EST time), there has been no verdict in the Lopez trial.
Cabello to OAS Head: “I Don’t Want You Here”
National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello had harsh words for Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American states. Cabello criticized Almagro for visiting camps housing Colombians deported and displaced from Venezuela near Cucuta.
Can you imagine that if a mayor here in Venezuela invited him [to visit the city]? How long would it take for him to get here? Forget about it, we’re not going to invite him. We don’t want him here! I don’t want him here, at least.
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