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In Pictures: Venezuela's protests escalate
Ongoing unrest across the country sets the streets on fire as violence threatens to spiral further.
Last updated: 21 Feb 2014 13:41
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Caracas, Venezuela - Political unrest and sporadic outbursts of violence have wracked parts of Venezuela since February 12. The story isn't new - members of the country's opposition claim the government is acting in an undemocratic way; supporters of President Nicholas Maduro say a vocal minority which can't win victories at the ballot box is attempting to cause chaos in the streets.
 
Government supporters were quiet on Wednesday and Thursday in the capital, but in Altamira Square, an opposition stronghold in eastern Caracas, student protesters burned rubbish and occasionally clashed with police on Wednesday and Thursday.
 
"We don't understand what they are trying to achieve by lighting fires on the streets," Omar Nasser, a pro-government activist told Al Jazeera. "They don't have a constructive or clear political project. They don't ask for anything when they protest."
 
After winning an election last year by a thin margin, Maduro and his governing socialists can't be challenged at the ballot box until 2016. Some opposition supporters say they can't wait that long for change and want Maduro to resign now. Others say they are fed up with insecurity, inflation and other social problems they say are worsening.
 
"There are many reasons for the protests: a lack of security, a bad economy and scarcity," Rey Quiros, a 27-year-old salesman, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday as he watched the demonstrations with a group of friends.
 
Pro-government candidates won more than three quarters of municipal seats in local elections in December, leading socialist supporters to say the opposition should get off the streets and find a way to better appeal to people.
 
Both sides agree that the situation could spiral out of control, but for now the demonstrations are relatively small compared with past mobilisations in the country with the world's largest oil reserves. Several people have, however, died across the country in ongoing political violence.


/AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Members of a pro government "colectivo", march in downtown Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday.



/AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters say the escalating protests against his socialist government in the oil rich but economically struggling country are part of an attempted coup sponsored by right wing and "fascist" opponents in Venezuela and abroad



/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several provincial cities on Thursday as protests escalated against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.



/AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
Following a dramatic surrender and a night in jail, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was due in court Wednesday to learn what charges he may face for allegedly provoking violence during protests against the socialist government in the divided nation.


/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez shout during a rally to promote peace in Caracas.


/AP Photo/Fernando Llano
A demonstrator waves a Venezuelan flag upside down near a barricade in La Boyera neighborhood in Caracas.


/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

At least five people have died since protests turned violent last week, with scores injured and arrested. The banner reads "I declare myself in civil disobedience."



/AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd
The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, shortages of many products and the alleged repression of opponents.


/Stringer/Reuters

Opposition supporters in San Cristobal, some 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, stand over a monument of a tank which they dragged into the middle of the street during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government.



/AP Photo/Alejandro Cegarra
An opposition demonstrator holds a poster that reads in Spanish "They are killing us" outside the Venezuelan Military Industries (CAVIM) in Caracas. Venezuelan opposition leaders condemned the government Thursday for its heavy handed attempt to subdue a protest movement with nighttime sweeps that have turned many parts of the country into dangerous free fire zones.


Follow Chris Arsenault on Twitter: @ChrisAJE


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images:
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captions:

Members of a pro government "colectivo", march in downtown Caracas, Venezuela on Thursday.

;*;

President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters say the escalating protests against his socialist government in the oil rich but economically struggling country are part of an attempted coup sponsored by right wing and "fascist" opponents in Venezuela and abroad

;*;

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several provincial cities on Thursday as protests escalated against President Nicolas Maduro(***)s socialist government.

;*;Following a dramatic surrender and a night in jail, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was due in court Wednesday to learn what charges he may face for allegedly provoking violence during protests against the socialist government in the divided nation. ;*;Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez shout during a rally to promote peace in Caracas.;*;A demonstrator waves a Venezuelan flag upside down near a barricade in La Boyera neighborhood in Caracas.;*;

At least five people have died since protests turned violent last week, with scores injured and arrested. The banner reads "I declare myself in civil disobedience."

;*;The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, shortages of many products and the alleged repression of opponents. ;*;

Opposition supporters in San Cristobal, some 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, stand over a monument of a tank which they dragged into the middle of the street during a protest against Nicolas Maduro(***)s government.

;*;An opposition demonstrator holds a poster that reads in Spanish "They are killing us" outside the Venezuelan Military Industries (CAVIM) in Caracas. Venezuelan opposition leaders condemned the government Thursday for its heavy handed attempt to subdue a protest movement with nighttime sweeps that have turned many parts of the country into dangerous free fire zones. Daylife ID:
677efab235759a1b720e3281fcee6516
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd;*;AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd;*;Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters;*;AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd;*;Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters;*;AP Photo/Fernando Llano;*;Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters;*;AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd;*;Stringer/Reuters;*;AP Photo/Alejandro Cegarra
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Venezuelahttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuelaen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:33:46 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/569658b8b410fe9707844f1791e63a5f

Members of a pro government 'colectivo', or 'collective,' march in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/569658b8b410fe9707844f1791e63a5fAP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Members of a pro government 'colectivo', or 'collective,' march in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/face17676f775db87ff1ca5864c6c36d

President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters say the escalating protests against his socialist government in the oil rich but economically struggling country are part of an attempted coup sponsored by right wing and 'fascist' opponents in Venezuela and abroad

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/face17676f775db87ff1ca5864c6c36dAP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

President Nicolas Maduro and his supporters say the escalating protests against his socialist government in the oil rich but economically struggling country are part of an attempted coup sponsored by right wing and 'fascist' opponents in Venezuela and abroad

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/0b6d3bf90c235d4b262680e61bb276c4

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several provincial cities on Thursday as protests escalated against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/0b6d3bf90c235d4b262680e61bb276c4Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several provincial cities on Thursday as protests escalated against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/e2d51eae10f58b43eecc297428aacb74

Following a dramatic surrender and a night in jail, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was due in court Wednesday to learn what charges he may face for allegedly provoking violence during protests against the socialist government in the divided nation.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/e2d51eae10f58b43eecc297428aacb74AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Following a dramatic surrender and a night in jail, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was due in court Wednesday to learn what charges he may face for allegedly provoking violence during protests against the socialist government in the divided nation.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/1c92d8e3d45163146c47e73a4edf36f8

Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez shout during a rally to promote peace in Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/1c92d8e3d45163146c47e73a4edf36f8Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Supporters of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez shout during a rally to promote peace in Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/ff11fc111aacf3bce93054d5a9637a81

A demonstrator waves a Venezuelan flag upside down near a barricade in La Boyera neighborhood in Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/ff11fc111aacf3bce93054d5a9637a81AP Photo/Fernando Llano

A demonstrator waves a Venezuelan flag upside down near a barricade in La Boyera neighborhood in Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/be40745321d36f243681eb79ec13ef05

At least five people have died since protests turned violent last week, with scores injured and arrested. The banner reads, 'I declare myself in civil disobedience.'

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/be40745321d36f243681eb79ec13ef05Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

At least five people have died since protests turned violent last week, with scores injured and arrested. The banner reads, 'I declare myself in civil disobedience.'

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/23dc0bfd873853664652bfd38c3b640f

The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, shortages of many products and the alleged repression of opponents.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/23dc0bfd873853664652bfd38c3b640fAP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, shortages of many products and the alleged repression of opponents.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/4cd4bb245a2fda7d2deeb3b46339de6f

Opposition supporters stand over a monument of a tank which they dragged into the middle of the street during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government San Cristobal, some 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/4cd4bb245a2fda7d2deeb3b46339de6fStringer/Reuters

Opposition supporters stand over a monument of a tank which they dragged into the middle of the street during a protest against Nicolas Maduro's government San Cristobal, some 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/973414b1f14f99f91126a038ca99503d

An opposition demonstrator holds a poster that reads in Spanish "They are killing us" outside the Venezuelan Military Industries (CAVIM) in Caracas. Venezuelan opposition leaders condemned the government Thursday for its heavy handed attempt to subdue a protest movement with nighttime sweeps that have turned many parts of the country into dangerous free fire zones.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela/slideshow/no-caption/973414b1f14f99f91126a038ca99503dAP Photo/Alejandro Cegarra

An opposition demonstrator holds a poster that reads in Spanish "They are killing us" outside the Venezuelan Military Industries (CAVIM) in Caracas. Venezuelan opposition leaders condemned the government Thursday for its heavy handed attempt to subdue a protest movement with nighttime sweeps that have turned many parts of the country into dangerous free fire zones.



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