Venezuelans called to flood streets in anti-Maduro protest

Opponents of President Nicolas Maduro are calling on demonstrators to flood the streets of Caracas on Saturday as part of a weeklong protest movement that shows little sign of losing steam.

Past demonstrations were sometimes planned weeks in advance to guarantee high turnout. But now the almost-daily churn of events in what's being called the "ongoing coup" — the government's alleged moves to accumulate more power — has energized and united the normally fractious opposition leading up to Saturday's march.

Authorities on Friday barred former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles from seeking office for 15 years for administrative irregularities as governor of Miranda state, a move decried by his supporters and foreign governments as another step toward dictatorship. It followed last week's decision by the Supreme Court to gut the opposition-controlled legislature of its last vestiges of power.

{"url":"https://twitter.com/coweddle/status/850389436076609539","author_name":"Cody Weddle","author_url":"https://twitter.com/coweddle","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;Former Pres. candidate and key opposition leader &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hcapriles\"&#gt;@hcapriles&#lt;/a&#gt; tweets that he's hearing he will be barred from politics for 15 years. &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/eyv4p6aGwF\"&#gt;https://t.co/eyv4p6aGwF&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Cody Weddle (@coweddle) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/coweddle/status/850389436076609539\"&#gt;April 7, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

As is now customary, authorities shut down the city's subway in what's widely seen as an attempt to discourage people from joining the protests, many of which have ended in scores of arrests, tear gas and rubber bullets. In another intimidation tactic, police also posted on social media mugshots of protesters taken undercover at recent demonstrations with a request for information about the whereabouts of the unidentified "generators of violence."

As the most dominant figure in the opposition over the past decade, Capriles has been at the forefront of the protests, the most combative since a wave of anti-government unrest in 2014 that was blamed for dozens of deaths. On Friday, the two-time presidential candidate said the government's order stripping him of his ability to run in future elections only strengthens his resolve to resist on the streets.

"When the dictatorship squeals it's a sign we're advancing," he said in a rousing speech surrounded by other leading opposition figures, many of whom themselves have been targeted. "The only one who is disqualified here is you, Nicolas Maduro."

Leaders in the ruling socialist party have accused the opposition of trying to provoke a bloodbath and coup of its own. Maduro didn't comment on the comptroller general's order in an appearance late Friday on state TV, but urged his supporters not to be distracted by tough language coming from "Capriloca," a play on the Spanish word for "crazy."

"The right wing's treason of our national interests is cause for indignation," said Maduro.

The protest movement's immediate goal appears to be forcing Maduro to call elections. Authorities last year cancelled an opposition campaign to force a recall referendum on Maduro and no date has yet been set for gubernatorial elections that were supposed to take place last year.

Together with jailed hardliner Leopoldo Lopez, Capriles is the most-popular opposition leader. With both seemingly out of the running, the government may be trying to manipulate the electoral playing field to leave the opposition with less viable options should the government bow to pressure and call presidential elections before they're scheduled in 2018, analysts said.

"However, it is a risky strategy that will probably backfire," Eurasia Group said in a report Friday. "The opposition is clearly fired up and this will further their cause."

 


{"url":"https://twitter.com/hannahdreier/status/850132235558805504","author_name":"Hannah Dreier","author_url":"https://twitter.com/hannahdreier","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;My Caracas neighborhood for the past half hour. Banging on empty pots is a form of anti-government protest in South America &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/n1hjDAnN1F\"&#gt;pic.twitter.com/n1hjDAnN1F&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hannahdreier/status/850132235558805504\"&#gt;April 6, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

 

{"url":"https://twitter.com/JMVivancoHRW/status/850443980663918595","author_name":"José Miguel Vivanco","author_url":"https://twitter.com/JMVivancoHRW","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;The disqualification of &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hcapriles\"&#gt;@hcapriles&#lt;/a&#gt; from running for office puts an end to the fantasy of democracy in Venezuela. OAS should act now. &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/eiOV164Hnb\"&#gt;pic.twitter.com/eiOV164Hnb&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— José Miguel Vivanco (@JMVivancoHRW) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/JMVivancoHRW/status/850443980663918595\"&#gt;April 7, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

 

 

 

{"url":"https://twitter.com/ArgentinaMFA/status/850734433778970624","author_name":"Argentina MFA","author_url":"https://twitter.com/ArgentinaMFA","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;The Argentine Government urges &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Venezuela?src=hash\"&#gt;#Venezuela&#lt;/a&#gt; to allow full democracy and to revoke the ban on &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hcapriles\"&#gt;@hcapriles&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/Tqnhx3VCX1\"&#gt;pic.twitter.com/Tqnhx3VCX1&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Argentina MFA (@ArgentinaMFA) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/ArgentinaMFA/status/850734433778970624\"&#gt;April 8, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

 

{"url":"https://twitter.com/bfraze/status/850015045434183682","author_name":"Barb Fraze","author_url":"https://twitter.com/bfraze","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"es\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;Venezuelan bishops call for civil disobedience in constitutional crisis. &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/hfg4GAMFXx\"&#gt;https://t.co/hfg4GAMFXx&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/CatholicNewsSvc\"&#gt;@CatholicNewsSvc&#lt;/a&#gt; via &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NCRonline\"&#gt;@NCRonline&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/coweddle\"&#gt;@coweddle&#lt;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/rGUCjhFDue\"&#gt;pic.twitter.com/rGUCjhFDue&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Barb Fraze (@bfraze) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/bfraze/status/850015045434183682\"&#gt;April 6, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

 

{"url":"https://twitter.com/coweddle/status/849461288791142401","author_name":"Cody Weddle","author_url":"https://twitter.com/coweddle","html":"&#lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&#gt;Some more shots - protests rock Caracas, squashed by authorities. &#lt;a href=\"https://t.co/N3PBhr2DxK\"&#gt;pic.twitter.com/N3PBhr2DxK&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Cody Weddle (@coweddle) &#lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/coweddle/status/849461288791142401\"&#gt;April 5, 2017&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;","width":550,"height":null,"type":"rich","cache_age":"3153600000","provider_name":"Twitter","provider_url":"https://twitter.com","version":"1.0"}

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.