Big March Marks 50th Day of Protests in Venezuela Against Maduro’s Government
Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday in the Venezuelan capital and elsewhere in the restive country, facing police tear gas as they protested against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Saturday’s protests marked the 50th straight day of anti-government street demonstrations, some of which have been accompanied by disorder. Nearly 50 people have been killed.
In Caracas, where many residents face severe shortages of such daily necessities as food, medicine and toilet paper, marchers carried signs — some reading “No More Dictatorship” and “Millions Against Dictatorship” — as they moved toward the city center.
Protesters blame Maduro and his economic policies for soaring inflation and the continuing shortages. They have also demanded fresh elections and freedom for jailed protesters.
Counterdemonstrations have also escalated since Maduro’s call earlier this month for a new constitution.
More than 2,000 protesters have been jailed since early April, when the demonstrations began, weeks after Maduro dissolved the National Assembly and lifted lawmakers’ immunity from criminal arrest and prosecution. Activists say at least one-third of the detainees remain jailed.
The European Union called on the Maduro government and opposition groups this week to begin an “urgent, constructive and effective dialogue” aimed at resolving the political crisis.
Ahead of Saturday’s marches in Caracas and the western city of Cristobal, activists had predicted a gathering in the capital larger than that on April 19, when hundreds of thousands of marchers swept through the city. However, witnesses said the eventual turnout fell well short of last month’s showing.