Thousands march against Maduro in Venezuela on day 50 of anger
CARACAS - Agence France-PresseMore than 200,000 protesters took to the streets in Venezuela on May 20 on day 50 of an angry and sometimes deadly showdown with unpopular President Nicolas Maduro.
As with many of the previous marches in crisis-hit Venezuela, police fired tear gas as protesters in the capital of the oil rich country suffering from dire shortages of the most basic of goods.
The opposition blames Maduro for the economic mess and wants early elections to replace the Socialist who took over from the late Hugo Chavez. Seven weeks of street protests have left 47 people dead.
In Caracas alone, some 160,000 marched through the city trying to reach the Interior Ministry in the city center, said Edinson Ferrer, spokesman for the opposition coalition MUD, citing a preliminary estimate.
Police firing tear gas broke up the demonstration.
In the western city of San Cristobal in Tachira state, an estimated 40,000-plus took to the streets. Maduro this week ordered 2,600 soldiers to Tachira to quell street violence and looting.
In Caracas, demonstrators carried signs that read “#We are millions against the dictatorship” and “#No more dictatorship!”
Protesters blame Maduro for Venezuela’s acute economic crisis, marked by shortages of food, medicine and such basics as soap and even toilet paper, and say he is maneuvering to dodge calls for early elections.
“This has been a massacre against the people,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said before the march got underway.
“Still, the more repression there is, the more we will resist and fight for Venezuela,” said Capriles, one of whose lawyers delivered a report on the Venezuelan crisis on May 19 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after Venezuelan officials “canceled” his passport, preventing him from flying to New York.