CARACAS – The Venezuelan opposition grouped under the MUD coalition on Thursday called upon its supporters to resume their anti-government protests this weekend after its two most recent calls for people to take to the streets did not get many people to turn out.
Lawmaker Freddy Guevara, the coordinator of the Popular Will (VP) group, said in a press conference in Caracas that there will be at least two demonstrations in the municipalities of Chacao and El Hatillo, both of which are anti-Chavista bastions, and a march, although the departure point and destination of the latter were not announced.
The protesters also were called to the streets to back the two districts’ mayors – opposition figures Ramon Muchacho for Chacao and David Smolansky for El Hatillo – whom the Supreme Court sentenced to 15 months in prison and banned from political life for allowing the establishment of barricades on local streets during anti-government protests.
“It’s a foregone conclusion (that the street) is the main strength of the opposition; if we abandon it, we surrender. Abandoning the streets is abandoning democracy. Clearing the way for the dictatorship,” Guevara said.
At present, it is unknown whether or not the coalition will convene demonstrations in other regions of Venezuela.
Between April and July, MUD had mobilized hundreds of thousands of citizens in Caracas and in the country’s 23 interior states to protest against the government of Nicolas Maduro and, later, against his plan – without consulting the public beforehand – to set up a National Constituent Assembly to rewrite the constitution.
The wave of protests has resulted in more 120 deaths, about 2,000 people injured and more than 5,000 arrested, but it ceased – temporarily – on July 30, the day that the constitutional assembly members were elected with the task before them of restructuring the state and Venezuela’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution.