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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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Woman killed in Venezuela riots as Guaido urges sweeping public sector strikes

The opposition leader is continuing his calls for public protests on the streets of Venezuela.

Image: Shutterstock/Ruben Alfonzo

ONE WOMAN HAS died and more than forty people were injured in Venezuela yesterday during clashes between armed forces and opposition supporters.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido made a call for Venezuela’s military to get behind him after claiming President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year was not legitimate.

It comes following days of protests, with Guaido now calling for public employees to move for industrial action and walk out of their jobs, under threat that they might lose their jobs if they do. 

Guaido, who heads the National Assembly legislature, invoked the Venezuelan constitution, declaring himself as acting president on 23 January with growing tensions turning to public protests and rioting in recent days.

Human rights organisations and health services reported 46 people injured in yesterday’s clashes, including one person with a gunshot wound.

A 27-year-old woman reportedly died after being hit by a “bullet in the head during a demonstrations,” the non-governmental Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict said on Twitter.

National Guard troops fired tear gas at stone-throwing protestors attempting to block a highway close to the air base in eastern Caracas, where Guaido had tried to spark a military uprising on Tuesday. 

A second day of confrontations between opposition supporters and Maduro’s security services came as the United States said it was prepared to take military action, if necessary, to stem the crisis in the South American nation.

At least one journalist was injured when National Guard soldiers fired rubber bullets at a group of reporters covering the clashes.

A local 17-year-old man reported to a medical center saying he had been shot in the foot while protesting on the highway near the La Carlota air base. 

“I didn’t manage to run and hide,” he said.

Guaido rallied his supporters in Caracas for the Labor Day demonstrations, urging them to stay in the streets.

His appeal came despite the apparent failure the day before of a revolt by some soldiers and members of the Bolivarian National Guard who joined his side.  

In Tuesday’s clashes, one person was killed and dozens injured, according to human rights monitors. More than 150 people were arrested, the government and human rights organizations said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned Venezuelan authorities not to use deadly force against demonstrators, while the US and Russia accused each other of making the crisis worse.

Sanctions

The US government has previously sanctioned Venezuela, including sanctions on oil sales – a huge money-maker for the country – in a move to hinder Maduro’s regime. 

In an address yesterday, Maduro alleged that the ‘so-called coup d’etat’ had been organized from the White House by US national security advisor John Bolton.

Guaido said his supporters will remain on the streets until Maduro is removed. 

“We’re going to remain in the streets until we achieve freedom for the Venezuelan people.

“The regime will try to increase the repression. It will try to persecute me, to stage a coup d’etat,” said Guaido, recognized by more than 50 countries as the country’s interim president.

He said staggered industrial action would begin today, leading to a general strike.

Venezuela has suffered five years of a recession, marked by shortages of basic necessities as well as failing public services, including water, electricity and transport.

With reporting from AFP.

© – AFP 2019

Guaido is now calling for public employees to move for industrial action and walk out of their jobs under threat that they might lose their jobs. 

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