At a protest in Caracas today – billed as the Toma de Venezuela [the Takeover of Venezuela] – Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles issued a dire ultimatum to the government of Nicolas Maduro: restore the rule of law in Venezuela, or the opposition will march on the Miraflores Palace on November 3.
The Miraflores Palace is located in the east of Caracas, and is the seat of the national government. While the PSUV routinely holds demonstrations for its supporters around Miraflores, the opposition has traditionally been banned from demonstrating in the area. The last time that a large opposition force marched on Miraflores was on April 11, 2002. The march resulted in Chavez’s temporary ouster from office.
As Capriles made the announcement, the large crowd of which he was a part appeared to grow restless, and seemingly called for Capriles to lead the crowd to Miraflores at that moment. At one point, Capriles reacted to a comment from someone in the crowd which drew his attention. Based on Caprile’s reply, someone in the crowd must have yelled out to him, “You’re shitting yourself”, meaning “You’re scared to go to Miraflores today”.
Capriles replied to the comment by saying:
No! I’m not shitting myself. The one who’s shitting himself is the man in Miraflores [Maduro].
Toma de Venezuela Sees Massive Turnout in Caracas, Major Cities
Today’s protest saw massive turnouts in Caracas as well as other major cities in the country.
In Caracas, opposition supporters met at seven different points in hte city and converged on the Francisco Fajardo highway, which cuts through the middle of Caracas from east to west. Below, some images from Caracas:
Torrealba Announces National Strike
At the same time, the head of the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica, Jesus Torrealba, announced a national work stoppage for this Friday, October 28. The purpose of the stoppage will be to put pressure on the government to allow the recall referendum effort against Maduro – which was “postponed indefinitely” last week – to move forward.
The national strike is expected to last 12 hours.
Video Shows Protester Pleading with National Guard Soldier
A video from San Cristobal, Tachira state captured the moment when a young man dared National Guards to shoot him for protesting.
Below, the video along with my translation:
Young Man: I’m hungry. I’m hungry! Are you going to kill me because I’m hungry? Look at me! Hit me with your shield – hit me with your shield! Kill me for being hungry! Shoot me for being hungry! Kill me for being hungry!
The march in San Cristobal saw a massive turnout:
Police Officer Killed in Miranda; 120 Injured, 147 Arrested Nation-Wide
As of the writing of this update (10:30 PM Caracas time), there have been reports of at least 120 injured and 147 arrested in the protests that gripped the country today. While the demonstration in Caracas was largely peaceful, protests in other cities – particularly Cumana, San Cristobal and Merida – saw violent confrontations between opposition protesters, state security forces and pro-government armed groups.
In the Las Minas area of Miranda state, a police officer was killed during a confrontation with protesters in the area. The officer’s death was confirmed by Minister of the Interior Ernesto Reverol, who said that the deceased was called Jose Alejandro Molina Rodriguez.
Protests Turn Violent in Several Cities
The video below shows protesters throwing objects at what appear to be National Guard forces who appear to respond with rubber bullets in Las Minas, Miranda state:
In Barinas, a protester received what appears to be a catastrophic injury to his left eye after being shot in the face with rubber bullets by a National Guard soldier:
In Aragua state, a woman was brutally beaten by Aragua state police as she apparently pleaded with them to stop from entering what appears to be a residential building. The woman’s name is Laura Lara:
Videos from Merida Show Police, Hooded Gov’t Supporters Working Together
In Merida, Merida state, a video shows what appear to be Merida State Police officers allowing a crowd of government supporters – some of whom appear to be armed – charge a crowd of opposition protesters:
Another video, also from Merida, shows state police officers working alongside hooded government supporters. The hooded government supporters throw rocks at arm’s length of the police:
Below, another video from Merida:
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