Venezuela protests spread to pro-government low-income areas


On Friday, two-time presidential candidate Henrique Capriles was barred from running for public office for 15 years amid an intense campaign waged by the government tying him to the protest movement that has grown into the most contentious since a wave of unrest in 2014. But opposition leaders say the country has further soured on Maduro in the years since, and are calling on people to continue taking to the streets to demand immediate general elections.

Two young men had already been killed in protests last week, according to authorities.

"Nicolas, the people of San Felix love you and want to feed you: that's why they threw eggs, tomatoes, vegetables, banana peels and other things, " opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup said on Twitter.

TRT World spoke to Juan Carlos Lamas in Caracas for the latest.

Nicolas Maduro's presidency has come under increasing pressure as the economy suffers and opponents accuse him of creating a dictatorship.

Alongside planned opposition marches that have dissolved into clashes, there have also been what witnesses and local media describe as impromptu nighttime protests, where neighbors block streets with trash or burning debris.

"People went into the streets last night because we are very upset", said Wilfredo Martinez, who lives in the working-class Caracas neighborhood of La Vega.

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Amid global outcry, the court quickly rolled back the most controversial part of its decision, but the move breathed new life into the fractured opposition movement and comforted demonstrators that they had worldwide support.

Now in their second week, the protests initially erupted April 1 after the Supreme Court stripped congress of its last vestiges of power, a decision it later reversed.

"They go by neighbourhoods and shoot people who are protesting", said Falcon, a former member of the ruling party, urging a negotiation to end Venezuela's political crisis. "But it's a minority, they don't represent Venezuela", she said.

Also on Thursday, opposition lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares said police fired tear gas "point-blank" at demonstrators in the state of Vargas. "We can't find food and sick people can't find medicine".

Venezuela's Ministry of Defense called on Almagro and the OAS Tuesday to condemn acts of violence, such as reports from Venezuela's Ombudsman that seven of its offices had been attacked in the anti-government protests.

Maduro supporters staged their own rally on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of a short-lived coup against Maduro's predecessor and mentor, the late leftist firebrand Hugo Chavez, in 2002.

On Tuesday night, people in poorer areas - typically supporters of Maduro's social spending programs - joined the protests, blocking off streets and lighting fires.