CARACAS – Venezuelan police arrested 33 users of the Caracas Metro accused of “sabotage” and of “hijacking” trains, while some of them said they were only protesting against the poor service.
The ostensible protesters hijacked trains at the Propatria station, the transport ministry said.
“Since it was impossible to achieve through dialogue that they stop the hijacking, the Bolivarian National Police proceeded to arrest 33 people for their suspected responsibility in this act of sabotage,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Metro passengers were handcuffed and taken to police headquarters.
Gathering at the police facility were dozens of relatives of the prisoners, several of whom said that those in custody were on their way to work when they were surprised by the protest, and that they are being advised by a self-proclaimed Metro-Users Committee.
Attorney Elenis Rodriguez, who identified herself as the committee’s legal adviser, said on Globovision TV that its president, whom she did not identify by name, was hit several times at police headquarters when he tried to verify reports that the prisoners had been attacked by the cops.
In an RCTV television video of the arrest, several of those in custody are heard complaining of mistreatment.
“We urge the almost 2 million people who travel every day on the four lines of the Caracas Metro...not to be influenced by those who seek to block our efforts to build an inclusive society and a transport system for everyone,” for its part the note from the transport ministry said. EFE