CARACAS – Thousands of Venezuelans mobilized on Saturday in the principal cities of the country in solidarity with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, recently sentenced to almost 14 years in jail, and in rejection of the government of Nicolas Maduro, while also promoting the importance of going to the polls and voting in the December legislative elections.
In the nation’s capital Caracas, in the central cities of Valencia and Maracay, in the western cities of Maracaibo, San Cristobal and Merida, in Puerto Ordaz and Ciudad Guayana down south, and in the eastern cities of Barcelona and Cumana, supporters of the opposition answered the call of the Democratic Unity Roundtable, or MUD, a coalition of opposition parties.
The demonstrators not only expressed their support for the “political prisoners,” but also slammed Judge Susana Barreiros, who last Sept. 10 sentenced Lopez to 13 years and 9 months in prison, ruling him responsible for the violence that broke out after an anti-government march in February 2014.
Seen on the streets of Venezuelan cities were puppets with the face of Barreiros carrying suitcases full of “dollars” and accompanied by posters saying “This is the price of your conscience.”
“Today begins the peaceful, democratic path to freeing Leopoldo, our political prisoners and all Venezuela! #LeopoldoLibre6D,” tweeted Lilian Tintori, wife of Lopez, on her Twitter account, during the demonstration that would end, in the case of Caracas, in a large plaza on the city’s east side.
Another message Tintori posted said “We’re on the street exercising our rights for the Freedom of our political prisoners and for our exiles.”
At the same time, the demonstrators invited Venezuelans to vote on Dec. 6 in the legislative elections, an electoral process that the opposition has characterized as absolutely necessary to achieve the victory that will lead to the beginning of a change in the nation’s government.
Freddy Guevara, leader of the Voluntad Popular party founded by Lopez, said on his Twitter account that “from here to Dec. 6 we will continue adding supporters.”
These marches are also kicking off the opposition’s campaign for the National Assembly elections next Dec.6.
The Voluntad Popular party showed on Twitter pictures of demonstrations and crowds coming out in support of Leopoldo Lopez in other cities of the world like London, Barcelona and Milan.