News / Americas

Venezuela Arrests Hundreds, Sparking Opposition Protest

An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister back at police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, May 8, 2014.
An anti-government protester throws a tear gas canister back at police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, May 8, 2014.
Reuters
Venezuelan security forces on Thursday rounded up hundreds of youth activists and dismantled camps set up as part of protests against President Nicolas Maduro, leading angry residents to stage demonstrations in backlash against the move.

Pre-dawn raids by National Guard troops broke up four tent camps maintained by student activists as part of a three-month wave of protests that have steadily waned over recent weeks even as sporadic clashes continue.

Police fired tear gas on protesters near the upscale Plaza Altamira who had set up barricades along a main avenue in eastern Caracas to demand the students be freed.

Earlier, a man used a pipe to break the windshield and windows of a truck that tried to push through barricades.

"These arrests are irresponsible because this is a peaceful protest and we are not trying to topple the government," said Jose Manuel Perez, 22, a student leader. "Mr. President, think about what you're doing. We demand respect for the students."

Troops on Thursday morning picked up the remnants of the camps, where students from all over the country had lived in tents, chatting and strumming guitars beneath banners with anti-government slogans, such as "Maduro, assassin."

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said soldiers arrested 243 people, accusing the students of using the camps as a base of operations to stage violent protests. He displayed items taken during the raids including mortars and Molotov cocktails.

The near-daily protests of February and March, which saw clouds of tear gas and barricades of burning trash and tires, have waned as opposition sympathizers have taken stock that Maduro is unlikely to be pushed from office.

Sporadic acts of violence have continued, including the burning of a National Guard vehicle this week.

Forty-one people have been killed, according to official figures, and nearly 800 injured. About 3,000 people have been arrested since February, with Thursday's latest round-up leaving about 450 people still in detention.

Francia Cacique, 24, a leader of one of the camps, called the raid illegal and denied the students had been plotting subversive activities.

"They've come up with the excuse of drugs and weapons, which is totally false," Cacique told Reuters via cellphone instant message, saying the detained protesters were being held at a Caracas military base. She was not arrested.

"I call on the world to help us and to realize that this is a dictatorship!"

Opposition demonstrators took to the streets in February to demand Maduro's resignation, complaining of soaring prices, chronic product shortages and abuse by security forces.

Maduro has called the protests an effort to overthrow him through public order disruptions that have snarled traffic, preventing some people from obtaining medical treatment.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Judge Criticizes Argentina for 'Half-truths' at Hearing

US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders nation to stop making misleading public statements, 'half truths' concerning status of their debts
More

US House Passes Border Security Bill

Measure passes 223 to 189, though the Senate is not expected to consider the bill
More

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

Program gives street kids not only food and safety, but a chance for a better life without crossing US border
More

US Senate Kills Immigration Bill, House to Vote Friday

Earlier Thursday, Republican-led chamber abandoned plans to vote on $659 million bill that addresses influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children
More

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More