Miércoles, 18 Octubre, 2017

Crowd clashes with police in Venezuela's latest protest

Armed police on the streets of San Cristobal Venezuela Armed police on the streets of San Cristobal Venezuela
Eleena Tovar | 23 Abril, 2017, 21:02

Leading Venezuelan opposition figure, Henrique Capriles, has been banned from seeking public office for 15 years.

Protesters clashed with security forces during protests in Venezuela on Saturday after a ban on Capriles breathed life into a fractured movement and fueled the first sustained anti-government demonstrations since 2014.

He narrowly lost the 2013 presidential election that brought Mr Maduro to power following the death of his mentor, Mr Hugo Chavez - father of Venezuela's "socialist revolution".

Opposition leader (and former presidential candidate) Henrique Capriles called on the state ombudsman, who is, in theory, charged with defending human rights in Venezuela, to protect the people, not the government.

A ban on holding office would prevent Capriles from running for president again in elections now scheduled for late 2018.

Still, others have been motivated by the escalating political crisis and the opposition coalition is putting on a more dynamic and coordinated front than usual. Leaders in the ruling socialist party had accused Capriles in recent days of stoking violence through his leadership of a week of near-daily protests, many of which have ended in tear gas and rubber bullets.

Saturday's protests continued a week of unrest sparked by last week's Supreme Court decision in which it assumed the role of the opposition-led congress.

While heated rhetoric and exaggerated claims are favorite tactics used on both sides of Venezuela's bitter political divide, the singling out of critics in such a forceful way by Maduro is frequently a prelude to legal action.

Violence erupted for the third straight day during protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, leaving one demonstrator dead amid escalating tension over moves to keep the leftist leader in power.

State ombudsman Tarek Saab on Thursday evening shot down a censure measure against the Supreme Court justices that had been approved by the opposition-controlled assembly this week, saying the controversial ruling had been "clarified" by the reversal of the decision.

Capriles later said that there were no casualties and the fire was extinguished.

Ortiz was a 19-year-old student at a local university, the local mayor's office said.

The South American country is suffering from triple-digit inflation, shortages of basic foods and medicines, and one of the world's highest murder rates.

Opposition lawmaker José Guerra, who participated in Saturday's protests, said the march was peacefully advancing on Francisco de Miranda Avenue, one of Caracas' main thoroughfares, when "tear gas bombs started raining on us".

"The opposition feels very strong", Kurmanaev said. The opposition says over 100 political activists have been jailed amid a wider crackdown on dissent.

The teen, Jairo Ortizo, died from a gunshot wound when National Guard troops tried to disperse crowds of protesters who had blocked a road on the outskirts of Caracas, authorities said.

Almost 100 people have also been detained over the past few days, according to rights group Penal Forum.

"They may shout loudly or quietly, they may commit violence, may call for riots or for judges to be fired, but they can not remove them without breaching the constitution", Rodriguez said.