One protester was killed and at least 117 others were injured as violence shook Caracas today in the 80th consecutive day of anti-Maduro protests.
In the capital city, the day was marked by violent confrontations between protesters and state security forces, which repressed the protests with particular ferocity by shooting protesters with firearms, an act that is relatively rare even in Venezuela.
The murdered protester was 17-year-old Fabian Urbina, who was shot in the throat while protesting in the Altamira interchange in the Altamira neighbourhood of the city.
Urbina is the 75th person to be killed in the anti-regime protests that have been taking place in the country since April 1 of this year, and one of the youngest.
While it is not immediately clear who killed Urbina, a number of videos recorded at the scene around the time of his death show National Guard soldiers shooting protesters with their pistols.
Reporters with El Nacional later recovered shell casings in the area where they had observed the soldiers shooting. National Assembly deputy Jose Manuel Olivares later confirmed that at least six protesters had received gunshot injuries during the course of the protests in Caracas.
NG Soldiers Caught on Film Shooting Protesters
The shooting death of Urbina is a relatively rare event in Venezuela. Even though National Guard soldiers and other official authorities have killed dozens of protesters since April 1, the overwhelming majority of the deaths have been caused by so-called “less-than-lethal” weapons like tear gas and rubber pellets.
The bulk of the fighting today appears to have taken place in the Altamira interchange of the Francisco Fajardo highway, which is located in the Altamira neighbouthood of the city.
In the video below, a large group of protesters charger National Guard soldiers across an overpass at the interchange. The soldiers respond by shooting at the protesters, which forces them to retreat:
The video below shows the same event from a different angle. At around the 0:10 mark, the video shows a picture of a National Guard soldier at the Altamira interchange aiming a pistol at protesters off-screen:
Roman Camacho, a freelance journalist based out of Caracas, captured the images below. The video shows the charge from the protesters’ viewpoint. At around the 0:14 mark, the video appears to show a National Guard soldier standing alone on the right side of the screen shooting at the protesters:
El Nacional Captured Instant Soldiers Fired Into Protester Crowd
El Nacional published a video on its website showing the instant that two National Guard soldiers fired pistols into the crowd of protesters at the Altamira interchange today.
The video, which I cannot link to directly, can be seen here.
The video shows two pistol-wielding National Guard soldiers aiming their firearms at a crowd of protesters off-screen. One of the soldiers can be seeing raising his pistol, presumably in preparation for firing the weapon. The other soldier was captured clearly firing the weapon.
The newspaper also reports that four other protesters received gunshot injuries to the abdomen and lower extremities at around the same time that Urbina was killed.
Urbina Was Protest Veteran, Was Wounded Days Earlier
Today’s protest was not Fabian Urbina’s first.
According to the Vente Venezuela (VV) opposition party coordinator in Aragua state, Maria Teresa Clavijo, Urbina received medical care last week in Maracay, Aragua state after suffering an injury to his elbow during an anti-regime protest. Clavijo said that at some point during the protest, Urbina was shoved to the ground, causing the injury.
Minister Reverol: Soldiers Used “Improper and Disproportionate Force” in Altamira Today
In a rare show of self-reflection, Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace Nestor Reverol spoke out against today’s shooting in Altamira, calling the National Guard’s actions an example of “improper and disproportionate force”.
In a series of seven tweets, Reverol said:
There was an irregular event on the South Altamira avenue at the interchange that is under investigation.
During this event, several people were injured and one was killed by a firearm.
The main theory in this investigation is that there was an improper and disproportionate use of force.
The soldiers who dispersed the violent protest have been placed under the control of their units in order to determine individual responsibility.
Once again we condemn the violence and the insurrectionist calls that the Venezuelan opposition has made during these protesters.
We will make any new information known immediately, as well as [when/if] the law is applied to those responsible.
No more insurrectionist violence. Only justice and truth will bring us the lasting Peace [sic] that Venezuela wants!