Elderly Venezuelans marched today in cities across the country as the protests against the Maduro regime enter the six week mark. Today’s march was titled “Por Nuestros Nietos” [For Our Grandchildren], and predominantly featured older Venezuelans. While Venezuelan elders have been present to varying degrees at previous demonstrations, the one today marked the first time that an entire march starred the demographic.
The announcement of the march raised eyebrows yesterday, since the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) stated that the goal of the demonstration in Caracas would be to reach the Public Defender’s office. Every previous attempt to reach the building has been violently repressed by authorities, leading many to fear that today’s march would face a similar fate.
In Caracas, demonstrators began to gather at a plaza in the Chacaito neighbourhood early this morning:
The march began at around the noon hour, but the demonstrators were almost immediately met by National Bolivarian Police murcielagos, which are trucks with deployable walls. The word murcielago means “bat”, and references the fat that the truck deploying its walls is reminiscent of a bat spreading its wings.
The sign below contains a quote from Venezuelan national hero Simon Bolivar which reads “Damn the soldier who turns his weapon on his own people”:
The sign below reads “I want my children to return”, a painful reminder of the Venezuelan exodus of the last 20 or so years that has torn families and entire generations apart:
The demonstrators used red paint to leave hand prints and messages on the walls of the murcielago. In the image below, the messages “Vivan los abuelos” [Long live the grandparents] can be seen:
The National Bolivarian Police would not allow the peaceful march to continue along its route, and scuffles broke out:
A National Bolivarian Police officer walked pepper sprayed a group of elderly demonstrators. The images below captured the moment of the attack:
The pepper spray caused the crowd to temporarily disperse:
Given the composition of the crowd, many of those affected by the toxic spray were elderly individuals:
Once the effects of the pepper spray could no longer be felt, demonstrators pushed up against the National Bolivarian Police line again. The video below shows demonstrators singing the national anthem:
The march was unable to reach the People’s Defender office in Caracas.
The march also took place in other cities. Below, an image from the demonstration in San Cristobal, Tachira:
Valencia, Carabobo state:
Barcelona, Anzoategui state:
Shipping Containers Block Bridge in Las Mercedes
Caracas residents awoke this morning to a peculiar sight: shipping containers had been placed on the Las Mercedes bridge, making access to the bridge impossible.
It is not clear who placed the shopping containers there, or why. They were removed in the mid-morning:
Two NBP Officers Held Hostage; Assailants Demand Release of Detainee
Two National Bolivarian Police officers are currently being held hostage by an unknown number of assailants in San Cristobal, Tachira. The assailants are demanding that the authorities release a protester who was arrested in the city yesterday in exchange for the officers. The detainee’s name is Omar Mejia.
El Nacional reports that the two officers were on a routine patrol in the Sucre neighbourhood of the city when residents saw and chased after them.
The residents forced the officers to stand in front of a camera holding up a sign that reads “#LibertadParaOmar [#FreedomForOmar] and to ask for his release:
Officer 1: I’m asking for Omar’s release. And no more repression.
Officer 2: I want Omar and all of the political prisoners to be released.
Protesters Hurl Garbage and Insults at Venezuelan Ambassador to Spain
[EDIT: It is possible that the man in this video is Mario Isea, but rather Roy Chaderton. Chaderton was the Venezuelan ambassador to the Organization of American states, and is a regular figure on state-owned media].
A crowd of hundreds of Venezuelans protested outside of the Venezuelan cultural centre in Madrid yesterday in response to a pro-regime event that was scheduled to take place there. The event had been organized in part by the Venezuelan embassy in Spain.
The Venezuelan ambassador, Mario Isea, made a frantic on-air call to the state-owned VTV network yesterday as the protest took place, and said that he and other staff had been “kidnapped” by the protesters despite the fact that no demonstrator ever entered the embassy. Spanish police confirmed today that Isea and the embassy staff were kept safe “at every moment” during the demonstration, and that Isea could have left the embassy “safely, if that is what he had wanted to do”.
The police also confirmed that there were no “police incidents” during the demonstration, and that no property was damaged.
Once Isea did leave the building, though, he was met by garbage and insults thrown at him by the demonstrators:
Document: Maduro Personally Delivered $11 Million in Dirty Money in Corruption Scandal
Maduro has been personally implicated in the Odebrecht corruption scandal in Brazil, legal documents show.
According to the BBC, Maduro has been mentioned in a legal document pertaining to the corruption scandal that was prepared as part of a plea deal by Mônica Moura, a Brazilian marketing specialist and key figure of the scandal. According to the documents, Maduro personally delivered $11 million dirty money to Moura for work to be done on Hugo Chavez’s 2012 re-election campaign.
The document containing the allegations can be found here, in Portuguese.
The then-Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro demanded that Mônica Moura receive almost all of the money […] under the table, through payments made by the Oderbrecht and Andrade Gutierrez companies.
There has been no comment on the allegation from the Venezuelan government.
The Guardian has an article on the story here.
Video Shows National Guard Soldiers Stealing Car
The video below shows National Soldiers calmly stealing a car from motorists in the El Trigal neighbourhood of Valencia, Carabobo state. The video was recorded on or around May 10.
As the soldier drives away in the car, the desperate motorists scream “Help us!” to other motorists and pedestrians.
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