Venezuelans stage 'silent protest' in wave of unrest

After tense negotiations with security forces blocking their way, protesters in Caracas were allowed to march to their destination, the headquarters of the Catholic bishops' conference.

Venezuelans stage 'silent protest' in wave of unrest

World Bulletin / News Desk

Dressed in white, Venezuelan protesters marched in silence on Saturday to demand the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro, a show of defiance after three weeks of unrest that left 20 people dead.

A brief scuffle took place on the capital's east side, where police fired tear gas to disperse a group of demonstrators trying to join the main march.

But there were no reports of violence on the scale seen at other protests, where there have been running battles pitting riot police and pro-government vigilantes against demonstrators hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.

The center-right opposition accuses the leftist government of repressing protests and sending armed thugs to attack them.

The "silent protest" was a test of the authorities' tolerance for peaceful demonstrations.

"I'm sure they'll meet us with the usual (tear) gas, which is how they preach peace," said 71-year-old protester Hector Urbina.

Protesters also marched to the Catholic Church's episcopal seats in several other cities across the country, tightly guarded by the police and national guard.

Many wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the word "peace." Others carried white flowers or Venezuelan flags, while one protester wielded a giant wooden cross.

The opposition is seen as close to the Church, which the government accuses of playing politics against it.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Nisan 2017, 00:29