Venezuelans protesting against the Maduro regime for the 66th straight day today were violently repressed by state security forces in a continuation of the violence that began to shake the country on April 1. Demonstrators took to the streets today in answer to a call by the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) to stage a gran planton (roughly, “a great stand-in”) on all of the country’s major roads.
In Caracas, state security forces ratcheted up the level of repression against demonstrators by firing live ammunition at them in at least one of the protest sites. Security forces typically only use less-lethal ammunition to repress protests, like rubber bullets and tear gas.
The shooting took place at the Centro Ciudad Comercial Tamanaco, a popular shopping mall in the city known locally as the CCCT. A large number of demonstrators fled into the mall after state security forces fired tear gas in the area:
The video below shows security forces responding to bottles and insults hurled at them by protesters off-screen. Towards the end of the video, the officers begin to fire live ammunition in the direction of the demonstrators:
The men recording the video believe that the officers are members of the CONAS, a unit that responds to cases of kidnapping and extortion.
The video below appears to show the same group of officers at a different time and from a different angle. The shooting is much more clear, as a number of officers discharge their pistols in the direction of the demonstrators:
The video below shows a group of National Guard soldiers tackling a female protester. While the protester manages to get away, the soldiers run off with many of her personal belongings:
In the video below, a National Guard solder knocks over and disables two motorcycles. It is not clear who the motorcycles belonged to, or why the soldier destroyed them:
The security forces’ reckless use of violence near the mall resulted in the injury of at least one bystander. The video below shows a woman being treated after being hit in the head with a tear gas canister. The woman in white being interviewed in the video says that the woman was not participating in the protests, and that she was hit while walking into the mall with her daughter:
The two sides squared off in other areas of the city as well. The video below shows a National Guard armored truck and high-pressure water cannon retreating across the 9 de diciembre bridge in El Paraiso:
In Altamira, protesters burned at least two buses across a busy intersection:
The unrest was not limited to Caracas. The video below shows Tachira State Police in action in the town of Tariba. One of the soldier pokes a weapon through the bars of the front door of a house and fires into the home. It’s not clear what kind of weapon the officer discharged into the home:
PSUV Deputy To Ask Supreme Court to Evaluate Attorney General for “Mental Insanity”
National Assembly PSUV deputy Pedro Carreño announced today during a televised interview that had would formally request that the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ), Venezuela’s top court, perform an evaluation of Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz in the coming days. According to Carreño, Diaz has been exhibiting signs of “mental insanity” in recent weeks.
Over the past several weeks, Diaz has made a public break with the Maduro regime by calling on security forces to respect human rights of demonstrators in several occassions.
Carreño made the announcement by saying:
We are going to go to the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia to ask (…) for the creation of a panel of medical experts, psychiatrists, so that they can carry out an evaluation of the woman. Why? To stop that woman from, through her pathological and recurring behaviour, causing more damage to the republic.
Diaz sent shockwaves throughout the country when she held a press conference on March 31 and said that there had been “various violations of the constitutional order” under the Maduro regime, effectively painting his rule as one of a dictator.
Questions/Comments? E-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep in touch on Facebook! In Venezuela Blog