Indignant Venezuelans took to the streets of cities across the country today in rejection of Maduro’s vow yesterday to call a “Communal Constituent Assembly” to draft a new constitution and essentially create a new Venezuela.
Protest activities began early this morning, as National Assembly vice president Freddy Guevara called last night for a “trancon” [lock down] of the country’s streets, from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM.
Venezuelans reacted to the call by waking up early and blocking their local roads, either with their bodies or with makeshift barricades made of tree branches, car tires and rubble.
Clashes began early in the morning in Caracas, Valencia, and other major cities in the country.
The video below shows National Guard soldiers in a skirmish by a barricade in El Paraiso, Caracas, some time before 10:00 AM this morning. Protesters throw rocks and molotov cocktails at the soldiers, who respond with tear gas:
In the Santa Fe neighbourhood of Caracas, residents took to the Francisco Fajardo highway early in the morning:
Not far along the highway to the west, protesters moved a fallen tree onto the road:
Below, a video showing the National Bolivarian Police at 10:50 AM near Chacaito, Caracas:
A building in El Paraiso, Caracas caught fire after National Guard soldiers fired tear gas into it, sparking the flames:
Somewhere in Valencia, Carabobo state, citizens built a barricade to block a road:
The video below shows a group of men helping a National Guard soldier limp away from the front lines in Petare, Caracas. At least two soldiers were injured in the fighting in Petare today. The man recording the video below says that the soldier has been shot in the leg:
A video of unrest in the Terrazas del Avila neighbourhood of Caracas:
In the Chacaito neighbourhood of Caracas, protesters swarmed and beat a National Police officer at around 2:00 PM:
The officer survived the attack. His last name is Caraballo. The pictures below were taken after the beating, and show damage to officer Caraballo’s uniform:
In Oripoto, in the El Hatillo municipality near Caracas. residents blocked a local road with tree branches and eventually came under fire (likely tear gas and/or rubber pellets) from National Guard soldiers sent to disperse them:
Flaming barricades in the Lara Avenue of Barquisimeto, in Lara state:
In Tachira state, protesters set fire to a vehicle belonging to the SEBIN, the country’s political police:
In the video below, a National Bolivarian Police officer attempts to clear a jam in his tear gas launcher by banging it on the floor while looking directly into the barrel, firing the launcher:
Several Injured in Fighting in La Urbina
At least one police officer was injured in unrest that shook the neighbourhood of La Urbina, Caracas for most of the day. Officer Ulises Ferrer was “struck by a bullet” while working in the area this morning, according to an official from the Sucre Municipal Police.
La Urbina was the site of a considerable amount of unrest today. Pro-regime militias known locally as colectivos armados [“armed collectives”, or “armed groups”] were active in the area since the early morning, suppressing protesters and breaking into apartment buildings.
The video below shows a group of civilians operating alongside National Guard soldiers in La Urbina earlier today:
Shortly before the noon hour, a gang residents believe to be a colectivo armado broke into the Los Mangos residential complex in La Urbina. The video below shows the group breaking down one of the complex’s walls:
The video below shows the same event from a different angle. Note the presence of at least two National Guard soldiers alongside the civilians breaking into the complex. The civilians are breaking into vehicles and stealing:
In the early afternoon, Sucre Municipal Police responded to the scene and engaged the colectivo armado:
Colectivo Also Active in El Llanito
Freelance journalist Roman Camacho captured images of a colectivo armado in action this morning in the El Llanito neighbourhood of the city. Camacho reports that the group of men were engaged in anti-protester activities in the area. One man carried a pistol, while another carried a knife and a third a baseball bat:
The colectivo was active in the area until at least the mid-afternoon. In the video below, heavy gunfire can be heard in the background (note the gas station, which is the same as the one pictured above):
The video below shows a colectivo in action in the same neighbourhood some time today. The men appear to be laying down covering fire, and appear to take fire themselves:
The video below was likely recorded somewhere in Caracas. It shows protesters at a barricade coming under heavy automatic fire from unknown assailants. Since the National Guard and National Bolivarian Police do not use automatic firearms in their protest-repression activities, the group firing on the protesters is likely a colectivo armado. The rapidity of the gunfire suggests to me that at least one of the weapons you hear in the video is a machine gun:
Looting in Naguanagua
Naguanagua, a city north of Valencia in Carabobo state, was the site of looting and widespread unrest today.
The video below shows looters in action in the city:
Protesters guarding flaming barricades:
The image below shows looting in Valencia, although given the close proximity of the two cities it is possible that this image was actually taken in Naguanagua:
In the state capital of Valencia, the People’s Defender office was attacked with rocks and molotov cocktails:
The building appears to have been ransacked:
Regime Supporters Attack National Assembly
In the early afternoon, a group of approximately 60 regime supporters attacked the National Assembly building in Caracas while deputies met inside for a session.
The regime supporters launched fireworks into the grounds of the parliament and shouted slogans:
Opposition Calls for More Protests Tomorrow
National Assembly deputy Carlos Paparoni announced today that the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD), the country’s opposition bloc, would hold another demonstration in Caracas tomorrow.
Paparoni called on Caracas residents to meet at the Altamira exchange of the Francisco Fajardo highway at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning. From there, Paparoni said that demonstrators will march to a “surprise” destination. The MUD is keeping the destination of the march secret until the last possibly moment in order to keep state security forces off balance.
Pararoni also announced that many National Assembly deputies would be on site to lead the demonstration to its final destination.
The announcement came shortly after the National Assembly approved a motion denouncing Maduro’s call for a “Constituent Assembly” yesterday as a naked attempt to completely demolish democracy in Venezuela.
Minister of the Interior Bans Carrying Weapons for 180 Days
Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol reacted to the ongoing unrest in the country today by declaring a ban on the carrying of weapons for the next 180 days. Reverol made the announcement in the tweet below:
The CARRYING OF WEAPONS [guns] has been suspended in the entire country for 180 days, to guarantee security, peace, and internal order
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