An opposition march to one of the offices of the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) ended with heavy government repression as National Guard soldiers blocked the protest route and fired tear gas at the protesters, blocking their route and forcing them to end the demonstration early.
The demonstration began at 9:00 AM in the vicinity of the Bello Monte subway station. From there, demonstrators hoped to march together to the nearby offices of the CNE to demand that the body stop delaying the recall referendum process against Maduro.
Below, pictures of the protester concentration near the Bello Monte subway station earlier today:
The protester had planned to march together along the Francisco Fajardo highway towards the CNE offices near Plaza Venezuela:
As the march took off, protesters were quickly met by a heavy presence of National Guard troops. The soldiers blocked the way towards the CNE building, effectively putting an end to the demonstration:
The National Guard fired tear gas at the crowd to disperse them:
Shortly after the noon hour, security officers pepper-sprayed Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, causing him to temporarily retire from the march:
Scattered groups of protesters managed to make it to Plaza Venezuela, but the protest eventually dissolved having failed in its objective shortly before 1:00 PM local time.
Below, a picture of some of the security forces deployed to police the protest:
La Patilla Documents Demonstration
La Patilla had a film crew document today’s opposition demonstration, from the congregation outside the Bello Monte subway station until the end of the protest.
Below, the video along with my translation:
[0:17] Cameraman: Why are you marching today?
Young Woman: To demand answers about the recall [referendum]. We’re all fed up, and this can’t go on any longer.
Woman in Blue: Because we want change in Venezuela.
Woman with Flag: So that Venezuela can change, my friend. We’re tired of all this misery, all this scarcity, hatred, violence and insecurity. That’s why I’m marching: to make a better country for our children.
[0:41] Cameraman: What would you tell Nicolas Maduro if he was standing here in front of you?
Young Woman: Well – that he should think about others more, and that he shouldn’t be so selfish. We’re suffering too much, and it’s already been proven that they can’t govern. And that he should give someone else the chance, because they’ll probably do a better job.
Woman in Blue: That he should get out of that chair — that he should leave it alone, because it doesn’t belong to him anymore. Change has already come to Venezuela. He’s on his way out, whether or not he likes it.
Elderly Woman: That he should leave. We don’t want him. That he should resign, and that the office is too big for him.
Woman with Flag: That he should leave right away. That he’s incompetent, and that he’s not good at being president of Venezuela.
[1:29] Cameraman: Is Nicolas Maduro afraid to hold the recall referendum?
Black-Haired Woman [Deputy Delsa Solorzano]: Nicolas, if you win the election, we’ll acknowledge you. But if we win – if the people win, which is most likely – then you must leave. Call for elections in 30 days, and let Venezuelans smile again, because the shortages of food and medicine and the insecurity has erased our smiles from our faces, and you are directly responsible for everything that is happening here in our country.
Man in Glasses: The strategy — the government’s main strategy appears to be making it so that no election takes place, either this year or the next, because they know that the sun is behind him and that the people’s will is not with them. Now, the donkey thinks one thing, but the one riding him thinks another. If it was up to Maduro, there wouldn’t be so many people here right now; if it was up to him, we wouldn’t have 112 deputies in the National Assembly; if it was up to him, the people of Venezuela wouldn’t be out here on the streets demanding their rights.
Maduro will leave office, peacefully, democratically and through elections, whether he wants to or not.
Woman in Blue [Melva Paredes]: Maduro isn’t just afraid: he also lost the streets. On top of this, he knows that Venezuelans are living through a lot of [difficulties], so he’s afraid of turning on that relief valve that is the recall referendum. Today, we’re telling Ms. Tibisay Lucena [the head of the CNE] that Venezuela’s 24 states are out on the streets asking that she announce where we can verify our signatures calling for a recall. [We are asking her] to stop manipulating and abusing the people of Venezuela.
At Least Three Injured in Bolivar Protest
El Nacional reports that at least three individuals sustained moderate injuries during a sister demonstration in Bolivar state.
The newspaper reports that National Assembly deputy Rachid Yasbek was injured by security forces, along with two men named Joge Zambrano and Alexis Asomagua.
MUD Calls for Another Protest on Saturday
The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica reacted to today’s failed march on the CNE by calling for another demonstration, this time for Saturday.
Speaking before reporters after the protest today, the head of the bloc – Jesus Torrealba – said:
We demand that the CNE respect its own rules in order to allow for the exercise of the universal right to vote.
Torrealba also spoke on today’s demonstrations, saying:
I want to congratulate all MUD activists for the massive mobilization that happened today, Wednesday, in almost the entire country (…) today we speak not only on behalf of the MUD, but also on behalf of the entire country, which wants change.
There is a difficult process ahead, one of struggle, but we will do whatever we have to do to make sure that we end the year off with a recall and a new government.
Saturday’s protest is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM along the Casanova Avenue.
Maduro Extends Economic Emergency Decree Til 2017
Maduro announced that the economic emergency decree that grants him wide-ranging unchecked powers will continue to be in effect until at least the end of 2016.
The decree expired on May 9. Venezuelan law does not allow for the president to extend the decree unilaterally; rather, it falls on the National Assembly to evaluate the success of the decree and then decide whether or not to extend it.
Maduro said that the economic situation in the country demands that Venezuelans “do a lot with a little”.
Maduro: No Way For Opposition to Win
Speaking before a crowd of supporters outside the Miraflores palace earlier today, Maduro said that there was no possible way for the opposition to have him removed from office.
None of the strategies that the oligarchical, fascist right wing has announced is political viable, nor will they achieve their objective of recalling or overthrowing the Bolivarian revolution. None. The people will be there [to stop them] wherever they go. It won’t happen in 2016, nor in 2017, nor in 2030.
Maduro: National Assembly “Paying Criminals”
Speaking on his En Contacto con Maduro television show last night, Maduro warned that there was a “paramilitary dictatorship” looming over Venezuela, evidenced by the country’s high incidences of violence crime.
Maduro talked on the important of combating this dictatorship, saying:
We have to liberate the people from this criminal paramilitary dictatorship. I’m asking for your help and your understanding. First of all, support from all of the public institutions, from all the powers of the State, from the Public Ministry first of all, [and] from the judicial branch and from the People’s Defender.
Maduro also stressed that he would not need the opposition-controlled National Assembly’s help, since he considers it a fact that opposition deputies are somehow financing crime in the country:
I won’t be asking for support from the National Assembly (…) inside that Assembly are the people who are paying criminals [to fight] this far in Miranda state, in Caracas, and in Zulia state.
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