Caracas saw massive unrest today for the third day this week as tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of the capital city to protest against the Maduro regime.
As in previous days of planned protests, the Caracas subway system shut down sixteen stations in the city’s core in order to hinder protester movement throughout the city. Vehicular traffic into the city was also severely restricted by National Guard soldiers in an attempt to prevent residents from the city’s neighbouring regions from joining the demonstrations.
National Assembly vice-president Freddy Guevara talked to reporters about the goal of this latest round of protests:
Today we increase pressure to weaken the regime, physically and morally. [This is] peaceful, popular resistance.
Guevara also stressed the importance of remaining peaceful during the protests, and of not “taking the bait” of responding to the regime’s violence with more violence:
[Violence] justifies repression and feeds the regime, and we need precisely the opposite in order to achieve change.
Opposition supporters began to gather at the main rally at the intersection of the Francisco de Miranda avenue and Elice street in the Chacao neighbourhood at around 10:00 AM local time. There, protesters held a minute of silence in memory of Jairo Ortiz, a protester who was killed by a police officer during a demonstration in the city of Carrizal on Thursday.
As in the previous two protests, today’s had the goal of reaching the People’s Defender office, but overwhelming repressive force from authorities prevented the demonstrators from reaching that goal. At least 17 people were injured during today’s unrest.
By roughly 1:00 PM local time, the repression had begun in earnest. National Bolivarian Police (NBP) officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, some of whom had made it as far as the Libertador avenue.
Below, an image of NBP officers responding to the protest:
The video below shows protesters and NBP officers fighting on the Libertador avenue. A man is yelling “Malditos!” [“Damn you!”] at the officers:
Another video showing protesters on the receiving end of tear gas:
The video below shows protesters receiving — and responding to — tear gas volleys:
At one point in the mid-afternoon, a group of protesters set fire to the entrance of the Chacao offices of the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), the country’s top court. The fire does not appear to have spread beyond the entrance of the building:
The videos below shows the scene around the building as it came under attack:
The opposition ended the day by calling for “the mother of all protests” on April 19.
Protesters Flee Into Guaire After National Guard “Ambush”
The video below shows demonstrators feeling authorities by jumping into and running alongside the Guaire river, which is a heavily-polluted waterway that runs through the Caracas.
The image below shows a similar scene:
In the video below, the man recording claims that the group he was a part of was “ambushed” by the authorities, which forced them to flee into the river:
Man: We, the citizens, are here in the Guaire river after an attack by the National Guard. We were ambushed. But we will continue to fight for liberty.
The video below shows demonstrators pulling fleeing protesters from the river. Note that around the 1:00 mark, a National Guard soldier fires a tear gas canister at the protesters while they were attempting to rescue others:
The video below shows dozens of demonstrators attempting to leave the river shore, with commentary from the man recording:
Man: Look at this! Look at this. Our students escaping through the Guaire from these oppressors. Look at this. And [the authorities] do fuck all except shoot more gas. There’s lots of money for gas.
The video below appears to show the same scene as the one above, but from a different angle:
Caprile’s Headquarters Attacked by Authorities
The offices of Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles were attacked by pro-regime forces. Individuals who were inside the building at the time of the attack told reporters that it was conducted by National Bolivarian Police officers and National Guard soldiers. Capriles was in the office at the time of the attack.
The building that houses Capriles’ offices was first attacked with tear gas canisters:
Subsequently, a fire started in the building, although it is not clear at this time how exactly it began:
El Nacional reports that six firefighters who responded to the fire suffered injuries from the heavy presence of tear gas in the area.
Valencia Sees Unrest
The city of Valencia in Carabobo state also saw an eruption of violence today as opposition protesters took to the streets there.
The video below shows protesters engaged in a skirmish with authorities there:
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