Thousands of women protest across country
Women banged on pans and some stripped off their white shirts Saturday as they protested Venezuela’s socialist government in an event the opposition billed as a “women’s march against repression.”
Local media carried a video showing people toppling a statue of the late president, Hugo Chávez, the day before in the western state of Zulia.
Thousands of women took over streets in major cities. Wearing the white shirts of opponents of the country’s increasingly embattled government, the women sang the national anthem and chanted, “Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!”
Some sported makeshift gear to protect against tear gas and rubber bullets. Others marched topless. One woman came in her wedding dress.
As they have almost daily for five weeks, police in riot gear again took control of major roads in the capital. Clashes between police and protesters have killed about three dozen people in the past month.
Local news media carried a video circulating on Twitter of the Chávez statue being pulled down. Media outlets reported that students destroyed the statue as they vented their anger over food shortages, inflation and increasing crime.
Several young men could be seen bashing the statue, which depicted Chávez standing in a saluting pose, as onlookers hurled insults at the socialist hero.
Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino on Friday denounced the protest movement and said opposition “terrorists” were attempting a kind of nonconventional warfare.