Protesters around the country today marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of RCTV, a popular television network that was shut down by Hugo Chavez in 2007 over the station’s defiant anti-government stance. At the time, RCTV was the most popular television network in the country, and had been a pillar of Venezuelan media since its founding in 1953.
In Caracas, protesters played out scenes that have become routine in the capital city over the last two months. Demonstrators took to the Francisco Fajardo highway in the early afternoon, where they were repressed by National Guard soldiers and National Bolivarian Police officers. Protesters and authorities exchanged tear gas canisters, rocks, and molotov cocktails throughout the afternoon.
Below, images and videos from the unrest in Caracas today.
The video below shows a crowd at the Alfredo Sadel plaza in Caracas at approximately 1:00 PM at an event commemorating the closure of RCTV:
At around the same time, protesters took to the stretch of the Francisco Fajardo highway in Las Mercedes. Protesters blocked traffic on the highway by placing rubble and a truck across the road:
Protesters also managed to place at least two other trucks across the highway:
The image below shows protesters waving a red, white and black flag on top of a cement truck on the highway:
The flag is called Guerra a Muerte [“Battle to the Death”], and was used by Simon Bolivar during a particularly bloody period of the Venezuelan war of independence stretching from 1812 to 1820. It was during this time, in 1813, that Bolivar issued a Decreto de Guerra a Muerte [“Battle to the Death Decree”], which promised death to any Spanish citizen who did not actively participate in the fight for Venezuelan independence. The Guerra a Muerte flag symbolizes an undying commitment to see one’s cause carried through to the bitter end.
The image below shows protesters on the highway at approximately 5:00 PM:
The video below captured scenes on the highway later in the afternoon:
The video below is approximately one hour long, and contains footage of NTN24’s coverage of the day’s unrest in Caracas:
Soldier Lynched During Memorial for Slain Protester
On Thursday, a 33 year old man named Manuel Sosa was shot and killed by authorities in Cabudare, Lara state while protesting against the Maduro regime. Sosa’s killing was officially confirmed today by the Public Ministry.
Today, a National Guard soldier who was attending a memorial service for Sosa was lynched by the crowd of mourners after word spread that he was an agent of the regime. The slain soldier was Lt. Danny Jose Subero. According to El Impulso, the crowd was under the impression that Subero was secretly filming them.
The newspaper says that once word spread through the crowd that Subero was filming them and that he was likely a regime agent, he was quickly surrounded and subsequently beaten to death. The crowd then burned Subero’s motorcycle and used the flaming wreckage to block traffic through a local road.
The tweet below includes images of Subero’s blood-stained I.D., as well as images of Subero’s lynching:
The lynching adds a new layer of tragedy to the killing of Sosa. His mother, Maritza Aponte, had asked mourners to attend her son’s memorials service today by saying:
Come for me. I would be thankful, because they already took my life away from me. I can’t go home because my son isn’t there.
Aponte said that her son was shot during the overnight hours on Wednesday while protesting against the Maduro regime. She said that as her son lay bleeding on the ground receiving medical attention, he said “don’t let me die because I have a son”.
The number of protest-related fatalities now sits at 63.
NGO: 2,950 Arrested in Protests Since April 1
The Foro Penal Venezolano (FPV), a human rights NGO that provides legal services to victims of regime oppression, announced today that the number of individuals arrested since protests began on April 1 has reached 2,950. FPV’s director, Alfredo Romero, revealed the information in a tweet which also included the following figures:
- 355 individuals have been processed by military tribunals, a measure that is contrary to both Venezuelan and international law. 189 of those individuals have already been sentenced to prison.
- 1,329 others are currently in detention pending legal proceedings.
The current wave of anti-regime unrest, which is now in its 57th consecutive day, is unprecedented in modern Venezuelan history.
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