Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Intense photos show Venezuela being rocked by the 'mother of all protests'

Demonstrators scuffle with security forces during an opposition rally in Caracas, Venezuela. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela's protracted economic, political, and social crises have burst onto the streets again in recent weeks.

The recent spate of demonstrations have also seen thousands of Venezuelans in the streets protesting their government.

Prior to Wednesday, five people had been killed in clashes on the streets.

Some people have been struck by gunfire from police, and at least one officer is facing charges over a death. Others were allegedly shot by government supporters.

This week, opposition leaders called demonstrators to the streets on Wednesday in what they dubbed the "mother of all marches."

"President Maduro has called his supporters to march in some of the same places that the opposition had already targeted their supporters," David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, said on Wednesday. "Maduro also called in a military plan, so there’s military in the streets in Caracas."

"So everything is set for their to be violence today," he said. By late Wednesday, two more people had been killed in the protests.

The photos below, many of them from Wednesday, show the intensity with which Venezuelans have taken to the streets in recent days.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela admits homicides soared to 60 a day in 2016, making it one of the most violent countries in the world

This round of protests was partly inspired by the supreme court's attempt to usurp the legislature's power, which one government minister decried as a "rupture of constitutional order." The court walked that move back, but in the weeks since, opposition politicians have been barred from office, deepening public ire.

Source: AFP, Reuters

Public protest has been common over the last few months, but the opposition has struggled to gain leverage over the Maduro government, both because of government efforts to block it and because of internal divisions in the opposition coalition.

In recent days, Maduro has upped his rhetoric. On Monday, he announced plans to expand the number of civilians in armed militias from 100,000 to 500,000. "A gun for every militiaman," he said, adding that it was time for Venezuelans to decide if they were "with the homeland" or against it.

Source: Associated Press

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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