The Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) announced its final plans for the protest planned in Caracas this Thursday.
The head of the bloc, Jesus Torrealba, said that the goal of the day will be for protesters to completely fill the Rio de Janeiro, Libertador and Francisco de Miranda avenues. The event twill take place starting at 8:00 AM, and is scheduled to end at 2:00 PM.
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles said that the opposition hopes to cover 18.7 kilometers of road in central and western Caracas with protesters. He also stressed the peaceful nature of the event, saying:
This is a peaceful protest, not a mob. The people will gather in seven different locations based on their political party and they will go from there on to the Gran Toma de Caracas [the Great Takeover of Caracas, the official name of the event].
While the Libertador Avenue leads into the western part of Caracas, the Rio de Janeiro and Francisco de Miranda avenues are located in the city’s east side, suggesting that the protest will primarily take place there. This fact is significant because most government buildings – including the Miraflores Palace – are located in the west of the city, indicating perhaps that the opposition is not willing to risk confrontation with the PSUV.
Al Jazeera Reporters Detained, Deported
Late yesterday evening, Venezuelan authorities detained a team of Mexican and Argentinean journalists at the Simon Bolivar International Airport who had just arrived in the country to cover Thursday’s protest. The journalists worked for the Al Jazeera news network.
After a brief detention, the authorities told the reporters that they would be deported to Colombia on the first available flight.
Jesus Torrealba spoke today on the deportation, calling it “shameful”.
Cabello: Opposition Wants “Death, Violence and War”
The PSUV continues to crank up its rhetoric against the opposition with less than 48 hours to go before the start of the Toma de Caracas, a protest planned for September 1 that the opposition is billing as the largest in the history of the country.
Speaking at an event in Caracas earlier today, PSUV vice president and National Assembly deputy Diosdado Cabello accused the opposition of betting on “death and violence”, and that PSUV supporters would be quick to launch a “counter-attack” if the opposition acted against Maduro. Cabello said:
They [the opposition] say that September 1 will be the beginning of the end. What does that mean? What does the final battle mean? What do they want? Death. Violence. War.
They talk about a final battle. Many of them say so comfortably in Spain, the United States, Colombia… that’s the advantage of stealing the Venezuelan people’s money. Today, on August 30, we say: right-wing supporters, if you try anything on September 1 against the Constitution, against the revolution, against Maduro, against the people, there will be no retreat. We will launch a counter-attack. We will head to battle and to victory.
During the same event, Cabello assured supporters that the United States Department of State was “organizing a coup” against “progressive governments”, including Venezuela’s.
Maduro Threatens Prison for “Fascists”
At the same event, Maduro promised to imprison anyone found to be involved in a plan to overthrow his government, saying:
Anyone involved in a coup or calls for violence will go to jail, buddy. Even if you holler, cry or scream. You’ll go to jail, you fascists!
Maduro also asked the crowd, “Will you help me to poner mano dura [literally, “use a hard hand”, roughly, “respond with an iron fist”]?”, to which the crowd replied with “Yes!”.
Maduro also called the September 1 protest a “terrorist coup d’etat”, and called on supporters to help him “defeat” it:
Let us go together to defeat the coup d’eta, the political violence, so that we can continue to build the Bolivarian revolution in peace (…) let us defeat the coup together. I have no doubt that this is a terrorist coup d’etat, and by defeating it we will be opening the doors for the rest of the decade, to a great economic revolution…
Maduro: Voluntad Popular Involved in Coup
Maduro singled out the Voluntad Popular [Popular Will] (VP) party as the masterminds of what he calls the developing coup d’etat. VP is one of the largest opposition parties in Venezuela, and is headed by Leopoldo Lopez, who is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence in the Ramo Verde military prison after a trial that was universally condemned by human rights activists and organizations as a farce.
[VP] is the party of coup violence and it’s involved in the September 1 coup d’etat.
SEBIN Arrests Another Opposition Politician
Following a string of SEBIN detentions of opposition figures, Carlos Melo was arrested today by members of the state police in Caracas. Melo is the head of the Avanzada Progresista [Progressive Charge] opposition party.
It is not yet know why Melo was arrested, and neither are his whereabouts. He is presumed to be in the SEBIN’s Caracas headquarters.
El Nacional Headquarters Attacked Again
Just over two months after a pro-government group calling itself ChaMa [possibly for “Chavez-Maduro”] vandalized the headquarters of El Nacional in Caracas by throwing feces at the front gate of the building, the group has struck again.
Some time during the overnight hours, a group of pro-government attacks once again threw bags of excrement at the building, along with a Molotov cocktail.
Below, a video showing the damage at the newspaper’s offices this morning:
Man: Well, at around 1:00 AM – 12:50, 1:00 AM – a pick-up truck arrived with four hooded individuals. Out of the four individuals, three got out and started to throw the bags that you saw there, the bags full of excrement. They threw two Molotov cocktails. One of them got into the building when it exploded. The whole thing lasted about a minute. It didn’t last too long because they weren’t sure that there weren’t people in there. The security team was there, along with myself.
When they saw us, they got in their truck and left.
Allup: Opposition Will Record Protest With Drones
National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup said today that the opposition would defy a government ban on private and drone flights until September 5, and that it would in fact record Thursday’s protest with drones.
Allup made the assertion during an interview earlier today that aired on Globovision. Allup said:
Those of us who have drones will use them to capture images of the great demonstration that will take place on September 1. We couldn’t care less what the Ministry of the Interior and Justice or the government says.
During the same interview, Allup dismissed PSUV assertions that the opposition would launch a coup on Thursday, and pointed out that only 2 out of 10 Venezuelans support Maduro. In his typical tongue-in-cheek tone, Allup said:
[The opposition understands] the fear that a president who generates disgust in 80% of Venezuelans feels, but the people aren’t to blame for that. The one who is to blame is him [Maduro] for heading this disastrous, inefficient and corrupt government. The people aren’t to blame.
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