[QODLink]
In Pictures
Rival protests continue in Venezuela
Supporters of President Nicholas Maduro fear a right-wing coup being staged against the country's Socialist leader.
Last updated: 23 Feb 2014 16:36
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Caracas, Venezuela - The streets of Venezuela's capital were quiet on Sunday morning. Throughout the day and night previously, competing demonstrations brought tens of thousands onto the streets in the biggest rallies since recent tensions erupted in early February.
 
Backers of Socialist President Nicholas Maduro say far-right elements in the political opposition are attempting to capitalise on high inflation and insecurity to bring down the elected government.

Rival mass protests rock Venezuela

Demonstrators at the opposition rally, meanwhile, said they were facing violence from security forces and armed pro-government collectives, and Maduro's government was steadily eroding the economy and democratic institutions. 
 
"Our protests have been attacked by collectives with guns, so people are scared," Alexis Perez, a student, told Al Jazeera. "If the repression continues, more people will join our demonstrations. At some point the government will have to sit down and negotiate with the opposition."
 
On Saturday, Maduro called for a national peace conference to be held on Wednesday, so Venezuelans could come together to "neutralise violent groups".
 
The death toll from the recent unrest rose to ten on Saturday, after medics announced that a 23-year-old student shot in the face three days ago in the industrial city of Valencia had died of her wounds.
 
Many government supporters rallying under the banner of women's rights accused the opposition of exaggerating reports of violence to paint themselves as victims. Government backers also dismissed concerns over repression and inflation as the rhetoric of a vocal, upper class minority who lack the political support to win elections. 

We have the political power, but [the opposition] still have the economic power

Caridad Blanco, government supporter,

"The opposition is causing inflation and they exaggerate it [in their media]," said Caridad Blanco, a retiree and government supporter. "We have the political power, but they still have the economic power." She fears the opposition is trying to stage a coup, as happened in 2002.
 
Opposition leaders told Al Jazeera they want dialogue - not an immediate end to Maduro's government - and said they were working to build trust in poor communities traditionally aligned to socialists. 
 
"Our party has launched a campaign to broaden our base in the popular sectors of society," Juan Pablo Lopez Gross, a politician with the opposition party Voluntad Popular told Al Jazeera. "We have networks [in poor areas] where teams of four or five people organise around specific problems in the community and anyone is welcome to join, regardless of their political affiliation."
 
He credits this strategy for the opposition winning Petare, a poor community in Caracas, during municipal elections in December.
 
But Layday Granados, a student at one of the newly created Bolivarian Universities, doesn't trust such tactics. 
 
"The opposition wants us to go back to the time before the revolution, when we were poor and hungry," Grandos told Al Jazeera, as she marched with government supporters. "The revolution has brought positive changes; many things have improved."
 
Pro-government candidates secured more than 75 percent of municipal seats nationwide in the most recent electoral test, meaning the opposition still isn't winning the hearts, minds and ballots of the poor majority. 
 
Politicians such as Lopez Gross won't have another chance to battle at the ballot box until 2016.
 
Both sides of the political divide are wary about the chances of real dialogue making the country stable in the near-term - and protests are set to continue.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
The opposition's Saturday rally drew thousands of people angry about insecurity, inflation and what they view as the criminalisation of dissent.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Government supporters, including Daisy Perez, a cleaner, believe the opposition is working with foreign powers to try and destabailise the democratically elected president.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Backers of the government usually wear red to their rallies.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition sported white on Saturday, as part of what they said was a plea for peace.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
With thousands attending both rallies, it was difficult to judge which was larger.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Both sides here are capable of bringing tens of thousands of people onto the streets to support their respective political projects.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Workers at a government-run pizza restaurant were busy providing subsidised lunches to hungry marchers.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Salesman did brisk business at each rally, capitalising on the respective protest styles of the opposing groups.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a political organiser with the country's opposition, expressed concern that armed pro-government groups had been intimidating and harassing student demonstrators.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Government supporters, meanwhile, say opposition partisans have destroyed public property and attacked security forces.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Both sides believe they hold the moral high ground and have promised to stay in the streets.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
The political tensions and turmoil look set to continue.


/Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera
Protesters took their own spin on the Guy Fawkes masks that have been popular in global protests in recent years.


/RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP
In San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, cars were set on fire and several people were injured in clashes with police.


/LUIS ROBAYO/AFP
Demonstrators blocked roads in San Cristobal, during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.


Follow Chris Arsenault on Twitter: @chrisAJE


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
images:
/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155621697858_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155621978159_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155622275984_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155622462877_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155622665826_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155622868944_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/201422315562340240_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155623243959_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155623478284_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155623728101_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155623978151_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155624134415_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155624525949_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/2014223155624868921_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2014/2/23/201422315562525562_8.jpg
captions:
The opposition\(***)s Saturday rally drew thousands of people angry about insecurity, inflation and what they view as the criminalisation of dissent.;*;Government supporters, including Daisy Perez, a cleaner, believe the opposition is working with foreign powers to try and destabailise the democratically elected president.;*;Backers of the government usually wear red to their rallies.;*;Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition sported white on Saturday, as part of what they said was a plea for peace.;*;With thousands attending both rallies, it was difficult to judge which was larger.;*;Both sides here are capable of bringing tens of thousands of people onto the streets to support their respective political projects.;*;Workers at a government-run pizza restaurant were busy providing subsidised lunches to hungry marchers.;*;Salesman did brisk business at each rally, capitalising on the respective protest styles of the opposing groups.;*;Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a political organiser with the country\(***)s opposition, expressed concern that armed pro-government groups had been intimidating and harassing student demonstrators.;*;Government supporters, meanwhile, say opposition partisans have destroyed public property and attacked security forces.;*;Both sides believe they hold the moral high ground and have promised to stay in the streets.;*;The political tensions and turmoil look set to continue.;*;Protesters took their own spin on the Guy Fawkes masks that have been popular in global protests in recent years.;*;In San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, cars were set on fire and several people were injured in clashes with police.;*;Demonstrators blocked roads in San Cristobal, during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Daylife ID:
1ce25038feef5fe74753731fd8521f6d
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera;*;RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP;*;LUIS ROBAYO/AFP;*;LUIS ROBAYO/AFP
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Venezuela rally-chrishttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chrisen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sun, 23 Feb 2014 15:50:30 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/e484c329f44b5e73ddb86851515d2e5d

The opposition's Saturday rally drew thousands of people angry about insecurity, inflation and what they view as the criminalisation of dissent.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/e484c329f44b5e73ddb86851515d2e5dChris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

The opposition's Saturday rally drew thousands of people angry about insecurity, inflation and what they view as the criminalisation of dissent.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/63cb133a4ff09fa4eb2238b7f43bbeae

Government supporters, including Daisy Perez, a cleaner, believe the opposition is working with foreign powers to try and destabailise the democratically elected president.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/63cb133a4ff09fa4eb2238b7f43bbeaeChris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Government supporters, including Daisy Perez, a cleaner, believe the opposition is working with foreign powers to try and destabailise the democratically elected president.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/93f4edbb0782e5231866422dd10bebbc

Backers of the government usually wear red to their rallies.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/93f4edbb0782e5231866422dd10bebbcChris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Backers of the government usually wear red to their rallies.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/3b56ca5a85c4f781edcbe7448a082a8a

Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition sported white on Saturday, as part of what they said was a plea for peace.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/3b56ca5a85c4f781edcbe7448a082a8aChris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Meanwhile, supporters of the opposition sported white on Saturday, as part of what they said was a plea for peace.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/5a4580ee83ad941a39fa7988cc481385

With thousands attending both rallies, it was difficult to judge which was larger.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/5a4580ee83ad941a39fa7988cc481385Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

With thousands attending both rallies, it was difficult to judge which was larger.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/46308503656af667e88dc5beea917841

Both sides here are capable of bringing tens of thousands of people onto the streets to support their respective political projects.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/46308503656af667e88dc5beea917841Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Both sides here are capable of bringing tens of thousands of people onto the streets to support their respective political projects.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/61078b7a884c2e1210e9e80052a7652a

Workers at a government-run pizza restaurant were busy providing subsidised lunches to hungry marchers.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/61078b7a884c2e1210e9e80052a7652aChris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Workers at a government-run pizza restaurant were busy providing subsidised lunches to hungry marchers.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/93cf8e74bee5d03a09c2687096148ae7

Salesman did brisk business at each rally, capitalising on the respective protest styles of the opposing groups.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/93cf8e74bee5d03a09c2687096148ae7Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Salesman did brisk business at each rally, capitalising on the respective protest styles of the opposing groups.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/0e272cc6017942663d7c639ec42131a4

Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a political organiser with the country's opposition, expressed concern that armed pro-government groups had been intimidating and harassing student demonstrators.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/0e272cc6017942663d7c639ec42131a4Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Jose Manuel Rodriguez, a political organiser with the country's opposition, expressed concern that armed pro-government groups had been intimidating and harassing student demonstrators.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/f26525fa56580d95be73e12494d90b26

Government supporters, meanwhile, say opposition partisans have destroyed public property and attacked security forces.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/f26525fa56580d95be73e12494d90b26Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Government supporters, meanwhile, say opposition partisans have destroyed public property and attacked security forces.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/f595c0d675add6c61efa5505312bd3b5

Both sides believe they hold the moral high ground and have promised to stay in the streets.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/f595c0d675add6c61efa5505312bd3b5Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

Both sides believe they hold the moral high ground and have promised to stay in the streets.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/8e6376256d512339948402e8afd95c08

The political tensions and turmoil look set to continue.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/8e6376256d512339948402e8afd95c08Chris Arsenault/Al Jazeera

The political tensions and turmoil look set to continue.

IMG 5817http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/img-5817/6d82c03acd6a6a4efd9948dd460989c7http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/img-5817/6d82c03acd6a6a4efd9948dd460989c7Chris Arsenault/Al JazeeraIMG 5817 http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/661f24af84b30811a97afb2c6c3390df

Protesters took their own spin on the Guy Fawkes masks that have been popular in global protests in recent years.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/661f24af84b30811a97afb2c6c3390dfRAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP

Protesters took their own spin on the Guy Fawkes masks that have been popular in global protests in recent years.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/d424aa26af2dcb83a893f53f4ff5e6ba

In San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, cars were set on fire and several people were injured in clashes with police.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/d424aa26af2dcb83a893f53f4ff5e6baLUIS ROBAYO/AFP

In San Cristobal, capital of the western border state of Tachira, cars were set on fire and several people were injured in clashes with police.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/8227378cad2dae3c04ec4e2aa8cf19f9

Demonstrators blocked roads in San Cristobal, during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Venezuela_rally-chris/slideshow/no-caption/8227378cad2dae3c04ec4e2aa8cf19f9LUIS ROBAYO/AFP

Demonstrators blocked roads in San Cristobal, during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.



Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.