Monday, April 24, 2017

Protest against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela



Venezuelans erected barricades with garbage and even bathtubs on April 24 and snarled traffic with mass "sit-ins" along major thoroughfares to press their demand for early elections as anti-government protests entered a fourth week.Ten people have been killed during near daily clashes this month between security forces armed with rubber bullets and tear gas and protesters sometimes throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails.

At least 10 people have also died during night-time looting. President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government accuses foes of seeking a violent coup with U.S. connivance, while the opposition says he is a dictator repressing peaceful protest.

The opposition's main demands are for elections, the release of jailed activists and autonomy for the opposition-led congress.But protests are also fuelled by the crippling economic crisis in the oil-rich South American nation of 30 million people.Demonstrators wore the yellow, blue and red colours of Venezuela's flag, held signs denouncing shortages, inflation and violent crime.

In the capital, they were seeking to converge from several points to a major highway, where by late morning several hundred people sat, carrying bags of supplies, playing card games, and shielding themselves from the sun with hats and umbrellas.The demonstrations were largely peaceful by midday, but clashes often begin later in the day. This month's unrest is Venezuela's worst since 2014 when 43 people died in months of mayhem sparked by protests against Maduro, the 54-year-old successor to late leftist leader Hugo Chavez.

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