Anti-Maduro pro­test­ers shut down Cara­cas

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CARA­CAS (AP): ANTI-GOV­ERN­MENT PRO­TEST­ERS filled the streets of Venezuela’s cap­i­tal and other ma­jor cities in a show of force against Pres­i­den­tial Ni­co­las Maduro, whose al­lies en­raged the op­po­si­tion by block­ing a re­call ref­er­en­dum against the so­cial­ist leader.

Tens of thou­sands of demon­stra­tors shut down Cara­cas’ main high­way on Wed­nes­day, many chant­ing “Democ­racy, yes! Dic­ta­tor­ship, no!” And po­lice clashed with pro­test­ers in other cities in what op­po­si­tion lead­ers called “the takeover of Venezuela”.

“Maduro has shown how scared he is that the peo­ple will ex­press them­selves,” op­po­si­tion leader Hen­rique Capriles said.

The protests come af­ter elec­toral au­thor­i­ties blocked a re­call cam­paign against Maduro last week. The face-off es­ca­lated on Tues­day when the op­po­si­tion-led leg­is­la­ture voted to put Maduro on trial, ac­cus­ing him of ef­fec­tively stag­ing a coup.

Op­po­si­tion leg­is­la­tors ar­gued that Venezuela’s leader has ef­fec­tively aban­doned the pres­i­dency by ne­glect­ing his job. And many Venezue­lans blame him for the coun­try’s triple-digit in­fla­tion, free-fall­ing econ­omy and short­ages of food, medicine and other ba­sic goods.

Op­po­si­tion lead­ers ended Wed­nes­day’s na­tional day of protest with call for a gen­eral strike to­day.

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