Demonstrations in support of Leopoldo Lopez and the sentenced students have been taking place today throughout Venezuela and across several cities around the world. The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica expects that 22 cities in Venezuela and 19 around the world will see demonstrations today.
The demonstrations are being held under the banner “Venezuela Quiere” [Venezuela Wants], an invitation for participants to discuss the kind of future they want for the country.
The head of the MUD, Jesus Torrealba, said that he hopes that today’s demonstrations will usher in a new era of citizen participation in Venezuelan politics in what he hopes will become “a great social movement”.
At a demonstration in Caracas, Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, addressed the crowd of supporters, saying:
We will stay on the streets because we don’t want more scarcity, we don’t want more inflation, we don’t want more insecurity. Venezuela wants change, and that change will come peacefully.
Below, pictures of some of the demonstrations today.
In Merida, Merida state:
Somewhere in Barinas state:
In Caracas. The first picture shows Lilian Tintori speaking to the crowd:
An event at a stadium in Barquisimeto, Lara state:
Sukhoi Crash Victims Testified in Golpe Azul Trial
Back in February, Diosdado Cabello said that the government had uncovered a coup plan that involved military officers commandeering airplanes to bomb targets around Caracas. Cabello said that the name of the operation was Golpe Azul [Blue Coup].
One of the accused in the case was an air force captain named Laided Salazar de Zerpa. Her lawyer, Carlos Javier Salazar, said that the two officers killed in Thursday’s crash, Ronald Ramirez and Jackson Garcia, gave expert testimony during the Golpe Azul trial. Salazar said:
They were prosecution witnesses. They were brought in as experts in these airplanes so that they could say during the trial that, yes, these officers could fly some Sukhois that were in Lara without any help to launch a coup d’etat. But the two witnesses’ response – very professional – was that, no, arming an airplane for a rebellion requires fourteen people, and they [the conspirators] were only eight.
The officers were also accused of bombing Caracas and some buildings with Tucano airplanes, and they [Ramirez and Garcia] were asked about that as well. They explained that it was impossible to move those bombs around in any way other than on land, and that those bombs were not in Lara but in Guarico, Zulia and out west. Also, during the trial it was shown that those airplanes couldn’t be used because the landing gears were damaged.
Salazar also explained that beyond the human tragedy that is the death of the two men, there are “very few” people in the country able to fly Su-30s.
Vice-President Jorge Arreaza commended the pilots, saying through Twitter that the men “gave their lives fighting drug trafficking, protecting our youth”.
Colombian Army Claims National Guard Entered Country
The Colombian army issued a statement last night claiming that approximately 15 Venezuelan National Guard soldiers had entered Colombia.
The Colombian army statement reads:
On the morning of September 18, 2015, troops from the Armoured Group No. 10 from the Tenth Brigade were informed by their community that a group of approximately 15 National Bolivarian Guard members had entered Colombian territory in the Montelara zone, in the township of La Majayura, Maicao municipality, La Guajira.
According to Noticias Caracol, the Venezuelan soldiers chased an individual on a motorcycle for one kilometer inside Colombia before turning back and heading to Venezuela.
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