Yesterday’s unrest continued throughout the night in Caracas, as well as in Barinas, Carabobo, Miranda, Lara and Zulia states. Protesters in several cities set up barricades and lit car tires and garbage on fire on local streets, and in some areas confrontations with authorities continued.
A barricade in El Paraiso, Caracas, at around 10:00 PM last night:
In Santa Fe, Caracas, protesters threw molotov cocktails at a mobile high-pressure water cannon probably belonging to the National Bolivarian Police:
In Los Teques, Miranda state, protesters built a barricade at around 10:20 PM local time:
Protesters burned rubble and garbage on a road in Santa Fe, Caracas:
Protesters somewhere in Zulia state:
Another video from earlier in the day yesterday. Protesters somewhere in Caracas tear down a giant banner bearing Chavez’s image. The banner reads: “#WeDon’tTalkBadAboutChavezHere”. The hashtag is part of a promotional campaign started by the regime earlier this year to discourage Venezuelans from criticizing Chavez in public:
Two Killed in Protests in Last 24 Hours; Injuries Top 200
There have been two protest-related fatalities in the last 24 hours.
The first fatality was Ricarda de Lourdes Gonzalez, and 87 year old woman who died after suffocating on tear gas inside her apartment in the Bello Monte neighbourhood. Gonzalez was not participating in a protest: rather, the authorities’ indiscriminate use of tear gas resulted in the toxic gas entering her apartment.
The second fatality was a man named Daniel Queliz, who was killed by authorities during a protest in Valencia, Carabobo state during the overnight hours. Queliz was a law student at the Arturo Michelena University, and had gone out to protest with his cousin yesterday evening.
Queliz’s cousin, Jonhatan Arias, described the moments leading up to his death:
The police started by shooting rubber bullets. We ran for a bit, and then we all realized that they were actually shooting bullets. My cousin fell to the ground at that moment. We picked him up and he died on the way to the hospital.
In regards to injures, the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) updated its official tally late last night, and placed the number at at least 200. National Assembly deputy Jose Manuel Olivares said:
When it comes to injuries, we’re talking about over 200 injured from rubber pellets, impacts [likely from tear gas] (…) this is a sum of all injured around the country.
Olivares also called yesterday’s tear gas attack on the Las Mercedes hospital “the saddest, shameful, cruel and evil face of the dictatorship and the repression”, and told reporters that the newborn who was evacuated from the facility nearly lost his life.
OHCHR, IACHR Call on Regime to Cease Repression
The United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement today calling on the Maduro regime to respect the right to peaceful protest. The statement was issued by spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell, who said:
We are concerned about reports of acts of violence during protests.We call on the Venezuelan government to ensure that the rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression are respected.
The statement came on the same day as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the regime to respect “the exercise of political rights, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly” in the country.
Maduro: Coup Underway
Maduro is in Cuba this week to attend an ALBA meeting on the Caribbean island. Last night, he spoke on the protests that have rocked the country for the last week, and said that there was a coup underway in Venezuela organized by “imperialist interests”, including the Organization of American States and the United States.
During a televised speech that El Universal classified as “long”, Maduro said that the Venezuelan opposition was “receiving new orders from the Department of State of the United States”, although he did not provide any evidence for the claims.
Maduro also dismissed the unrest as the work of a small band of “violent groups”, and assured that the protesters would be “defeated with the civil-military union”. The “civil-military” union is one of the pillars of the Bolivarian movement in Venezuela. It calls for erasing the boundary between the military and the civilian spheres, and calls on ordinary citizens to take an active role in the armed defense of the Bolivarian revolution.
National Assembly Deputy Take Fire at Press Conference
National Assembly (opposition) deputy Robert Alcalá was giving a press conference to reporters in Sucre state earlier today when a man approached him and discharged a firearm. No one was injured in the event, and it is not clear if Alcalá was the intended target of the shooting.
The shooter was immediately apprehended by police. Below, a video showing the moment the shooter – wearing red, in the back of the truck – is taken away by police:
Alcalá was speaking to reporters about an attack against the offices of the Accion Democratica party in Cumana, Sucre state. During the overnight hours, an unknown number of assailants threw molotov cocktails at the building housing the opposition party’s offices in the city.
38 Newborns Reportedly Die in Valera Hospital
National Assembly deputy Perez Linares alleged yesterday that at least 38 newborns have died in the Pedro Emilio Carillo de Valera University Hospital in Trujillo state since the start of March. According to Linares, the hospital — which services residents of Zulia, Merida, Lara, Portuguesa and Trujillo states — is experiencing some kind of bacterial outbreak that has yet to be identified.
The hospital’s director, Jonathan Alcala, spoke to reporters yesterday but refused to talk about the deaths. His reason: it’s Holy Week. Alcala said:
Right now we’re working under the Holy Week Schedule (…) After Holy Week, a press conference will be given alongside governor [Henry Rangel Silva] on this topic. [Neonatal] services haven’t closed. It’s only been relocated, and we’re not making any statements.
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