Venezuelan capital hit by Easter protests

Protesters burn effigies of government figures as police and protesters clash in wealthy area of Caracas.

    Venezuelan capital hit by Easter protests
    Protesters burned effigies of Maduro and government officials as part of a tradition 'burning of Judas' [AP]

    Fresh clashes have occurred in Venezuela's capital, with hooded anti-government protesters hurling rocks and
    Molotov cocktails at riot police who returned fire with rubber bullets, tear-gas and water cannon.

    Four people were reported injured in the unrest that erupted in Caracas's upscale Chacao neighbourhood on Sunday, a stronghold of anti-government opposition.

    Venezuela has been rocked by two months of deadly protests, with at least 41 people killed since a wave of demonstrations against the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro broke out in early February.

    About 600 people have also been injured in the protests, and around 100 have been detained.

    Maduro, the hand-picked successor to the late leftist icon Hugo Chavez, was narrowly elected to office one year ago.

    A former bus driver and union leader and the self-proclaimed "son" of Chavez, Maduro was elected after Chavez died from cancer and was sworn in April 19, 2013, pledging to carry on his mentor's socialist legacy.

    Hundreds of anti-government activists marked Easter Sunday in Chacao by holding a march calling for the "resurrection of democracy".

    The crowd marched to the offices of the UN in Venezuela, where more than a month ago students set up some 120 tents and began to camp out seeking support against the Maduro administration.

    The Sunday demo was organized by Voluntad Popular (Popular Will), an anti-government group whose leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has been jailed since February 18.

    Also attending the protest were opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado and former mayor Antonio Ledezma, both of whom, along with Lopez, support a strategy known as The Exit, which aims to push Maduro from office through continuous protests.

    At the end of the peaceful march hooded activists blocked a main Chacao thoroughfare and nearby streets with debris that included an uprooted bus stop shelter and sewer grates.

    Some were protected by gas masks and construction helmets. Others hid their identity with scarves and Guy Fawkes masks.

    After police and rioters clashed, Ramon Muchacho, Chacao's mayor, said in a Twitter message that there were no bullet injuries.

    Protesters also burned effigies of Maduro and top government officials as part of a Venezuelan tradition known as the burning of Judas.

    SOURCE: AFP


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