Venezuelan opposition activists march to Leopoldo Lopez' jail | Reuters

By Girish Gupta | LOS TEQUES, Venezuela LOS TEQUES, Venezuela Hundreds of activists marched on Friday to the hilltop jail of Venezuela's best-known detained opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in the latest of a month of protests against the socialist government.Security forces blocked access to the decrepit-looking penitentiary next to a slum in Los Teques, an hour's drive from the capital Caracas, as the demonstrators shouted 'Leopoldo!' and held signs reading 'No To Dictatorship!'This month's wave of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government has led to at least 29 deaths in the worst unrest since 2014 rallies championed by Lopez, who was arrested then and convicted of instigating violence.Venezuela's opposition is demanding elections, autonomy for the legislature where they have a majority, a humanitarian aid channel from abroad to alleviate an economic crisis, and freedom for more than 100 jailed anti-Maduro activists.Supporters say Lopez, the U.S.-educated leader of hardline Popular Will party, and others are political prisoners who symbolize Maduro's lurch into dictatorship. Maduro says all are behind bars for legitimate crimes, and calls Lopez, 45, a violent hothead intent on promoting a coup.'This shows yet again the fear Nicolas Maduro has of people in the street,' said Popular Will legislator Juan Mejia at the National Guard barriers outside Ramo Verde jail. Some inhabitants of a nearby slum came out of their homes to cheer as the protesters marched by

Reuters April 29, 2017 02:00:07 IST
Venezuelan opposition activists march to Leopoldo Lopez' jail
| Reuters

Venezuelan opposition activists march to Leopoldo Lopez jail
 Reuters

By Girish Gupta
| LOS TEQUES, Venezuela

LOS TEQUES, Venezuela Hundreds of activists marched on Friday to the hilltop jail of Venezuela's best-known detained opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in the latest of a month of protests against the socialist government.Security forces blocked access to the decrepit-looking penitentiary next to a slum in Los Teques, an hour's drive from the capital Caracas, as the demonstrators shouted "Leopoldo!" and held signs reading "No To Dictatorship!"This month's wave of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's government has led to at least 29 deaths in the worst unrest since 2014 rallies championed by Lopez, who was arrested then and convicted of instigating violence.Venezuela's opposition is demanding elections, autonomy for the legislature where they have a majority, a humanitarian aid channel from abroad to alleviate an economic crisis, and freedom for more than 100 jailed anti-Maduro activists.Supporters say Lopez, the U.S.-educated leader of hardline Popular Will party, and others are political prisoners who symbolize Maduro's lurch into dictatorship.

Maduro says all are behind bars for legitimate crimes, and calls Lopez, 45, a violent hothead intent on promoting a coup."This shows yet again the fear Nicolas Maduro has of people in the street," said Popular Will legislator Juan Mejia at the National Guard barriers outside Ramo Verde jail.

Some inhabitants of a nearby slum came out of their homes to cheer as the protesters marched by. "We would never have marched here before because it was very dangerous and pro-Chavista," said demonstrator and marketing consultant Kailee Shima, 36, referring to the ruling "Chavista" movement named for Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez.Elsewhere, relatives of imprisoned activists and supporters turned up at other jails, including the Caracas headquarters of the state intelligence service Sebin.

"We are opposite one of the dictatorship's iconic prisons where they keep dozens of political prisoners, opposite the biggest torture centre in the land," said another opposition lawmaker Gaby Arellano. Government officials accuse the opposition of inventing torture stories to sway international opinion against the Maduro government and create the conditions for a foreign intervention of the South American oil producer. The opposition coalition, which now enjoys majority support after long being in the shadow of "Chavismo" especially during the 14-year rule of Chavez himself, is trying to keep the pressure on Maduro with daily protests. (Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.