Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

"Why Are So Many Children Dying in Gaza?"

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Seleka calls for partition

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • UN human rights chief blasts Israel-Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Poland’s Rafal Majka wins 17th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

Americas

Policeman killed as troops raid Caracas protest camps

© Photo: AFP

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-09

Venezuelan troops on Thursday rounded up hundreds of youth activists and dismantled camps set up in protest against President Nicolas Maduro, sparking clashes across the capital that left one policeman dead.

Pre-dawn raids by National Guard troops broke up four tent camps maintained by student activists in the capital of the OPEC member nation.

After the raids, hundreds of demonstrators and residents poured onto the streets, setting up barricades, a common tactic during three months of unrest. The protests had waned in recent weeks even as sporadic clashes continued.

Masked youths hurled stones and petrol bombs, while police fired tear gas in upmarket east Caracas. One police officer died of bullet wounds, among five people injured, authorities said. Witnesses said shots were fired from buildings down into the streets.

“A sniper killed the policeman while he was cleaning debris left by these violent, murderous protesters,” Maduro said during an address to the nation. “He was vilely killed.” Troops cleared away the remnants of the camps, where students from all over the country had lived in tents, chanting and strumming guitars beneath banners with anti-government slogans, such as “Maduro, assassin.”

Mass arrests

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said soldiers arrested 243 people, accusing the students of using the camps as a base of operations to stage violent demonstrations in other parts of the city.

“[Troops] impounded drugs, weapons, explosives ... all of the things that they were using every day to violently confront security forces,” Torres told state television.

Venezuela has been gripped by unrest since February, after student protests against Maduro’s government took a violent turn. Official figures show 42 have been killed and nearly 800 injured. About 3,000 people have been arrested, with Thursday’s round-up leaving about 450 people still in detention.

Maduro’s administration has grown increasingly fed up with the demonstrations, and announced last week that it had arrested 58 foreigners, including an American, on suspicion of inciting violent street protests against the government. Both Maduro and Torres have denounced what they say is a plot to promote unrest aimed at overthrowing the administration.

US sanctions bill

Opponents have repeatedly rejected the government’s frequent allegations of coup attempts, calling them an effort to distract attention from the country’s problems. They say the protests arise from widespread discontent with the country’s 57 percent inflation, record product shortages, and authoritarian practices.

The latest clashes come as the United States Congress moves closer to imposing economic sanctions against Venezuela’s government.

State Department officials will brief a Senate committee Thursday on the violent street protests that have rocked the country for weeks, and a House panel will finalise its version of a sanctions bill Friday.

The legislation in both chambers is relatively modest. It centres on $15 million in new funds to promote democracy and rule of law in the South American country. It also bans visas for Venezuelan officials who crushed anti-government protests by students, opposition leaders and others and freezes their assets.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-08

  • VENEZUELA

    Venezuela’s Maduro and opposition meet to end deadly protests

    Read more

  • Venezuela

    Maduro says three Venezuelan generals arrested for plotting coup

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    New police crackdown as 20,000 march in Caracas

    Read more

COMMENT(S)