Protest in Venezula against President Maduro

- Pranjal Joshi   06-05-2017

          


Violence is going on in Caracas, which is the capital of Venezuela, with security forces fired tear gas at youths hurling stones and petrol bombs after opposition marches were blocked during a mass rally against President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution. Whereas, the President of Venezuela Maduro says the crisis is the result of a US-backed capitalist conspiracy. The opposition has vowed to keep up protests for as long as needed to achieve its main demand of fresh elections. Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro announced  the creation of a new popular assembly with the ability to re-write the constitution, which foes decried as a power-grab to stifle weeks of anti-government unrest.Maduro, 54, has triggered an article of the constitution that creates a super-body known as a 'constituent assembly. Driving the latest outrage is the decree by Maduro to begin the process of rewriting Venezuela's constitution, which was pushed through in 1999 by Chavez, his predecessor and mentor.'Freddy Guevara, the legislature's first vice president, was whisked away by fellow protesters after apparently being struck in the foot by a tear gas canister. He later emerged with white bandages wrapped around the wound, vowing to stay in the streets until the opposition triumphs.

Five people have been killed in Venezuela's unrest since late Monday. Two died when the bus they were traveling in flipped as it tried to avoid a barricade set up by protesters, according to opposition activists who live near the accident site in Carabobo state. A third person was killed during looting at a shop in the industrial city of Valencia and a motorcyclist died after being struck by a car trying to swerve away from a protest, the chief prosecutor's office said. On Wednesday, Armando Canizales, 17, was killed after being struck in the neck at a protest in a city east of Caracas. Video shows the young man in jeans and a black jacket being rushed by two men on a motorcycle to an ambulance as friends cried, 'No, Armando!'At least 35 people have died in the political turmoil that has gripped Venezuela for a month. Hundreds more have been injured, including more than 150 on Wednesday alone. Caracas-area mayor Ramon Muchacho said 137 of those injured Wednesday suffered cuts, fractures and other wounds. They never had so many patients coming in from a protest as they had on Wednesday. An influential group of US senators filed sweeping legislation on Wednesday to address the crisis in Venezuela, including sanctioning individuals responsible for undermining democracy or involved in corruption.

 

Opposition leaders call the planned constitutional assembly a ploy to keep Maduro and his allies in power by putting off regional elections scheduled for this year and a presidential election that was to be held in 2018. Opinion polls have suggested the socialists would lose both elections badly at a time of widespread anger over triple-digit inflation and shortages of food and other goods. Luis Emilio Rondon, one of five members of the electoral council and the only one who in the past has sided with opposition initiatives, said Maduro's decree alone was not enough to convoke a constitutional assembly. He contended the idea of holding an assembly would need to go first to Venezuelans for a general vote, a step the president did not mention in announcing its creation.