The Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social [Venezuelan Social Conflict Watch] (OVCS) has released updated figures on protests in the country for the first six months of 2018. The NGO, which tracks protests and civil violence in the country, tallied the following figures for the first half of this year:
- 5,315 protests, for an average of 30 per day;
- 12 protest-related fatalities;
- 84% of all protests were staged to demand access to social rights (like healthcare and transportation).
According to the OVCS, the number of protests in the first half of this year increased by 8% from the same period last year, which saw 4,930 protests.
The NGO also found that June was the month with the most protests so far this year. The fact is likely related to the ongoing healthcare workers’s strike which started in mid-May and has now spread through most of the country, as well as an ongoing strike by university professors. According to the OVCS:
At the moment, healthcare workers and students have been the most active in protests. At the time of this report’s presentation, [these two groups] have radicalized their actions and have declared stoppages that has extended for several days as a way of pressuring [the regime] over low salaries that workers earn.
The top five states with the most protests were:
- Capital District (Caracas): 579
- Lara: 541
- Bolivar: 464
- Merida: 458
- Anzoategui: 417
The OCVS found that there were 226 looting or attempting looting sprees in the first half of the year “given the hunger, [and] desperation” that are rampant among Venezuelans.
On the twelve fatalities registered at protests this year, the OVCS found:
11 people were killed due to bullet injuries, and one of the victims [was killed with] a blunt object. Relatives and witnesses accused state officials as responsible in five of the killings, and armed civilians in the other seven.
Finding that the regime’s reaction to the protests–and the conditions that engender them–has so far been “minimal, insufficient, partial and repressive”, the OVCS warns that continued failure to rectify the situation will prove catastrophic:
As we have said in previous studies, the Venezuelan government must recognize the magnitude of the crisis and understand that international humanitarian assistance is just and necessary. We reiterate that the damage will be irreparable if we continue on the same course. The country is drowned in poverty. And the government’s only response at the moment is indolence.
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