Venezuelans protest Maduro's plan to rewrite constitution

Jerome Frank
July 24, 2017

Several other people were injured in clashes with authorities during Saturday's march to the Supreme Court.

The president's opponents accuse Mr Maduro of turning Venezuela into a dictatorship and wrecking what should be a prosperous economy.

Clashes ensued for several hours as hundreds of masked youths hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at National Guard troops firing tear gas from motorcycles.

"Neither rubber bullets nor pellets will stop our fight", said Mr Arteaga.

Several people were injured during the demonstration, including violinist Wuilly Arteaga, who has become a symbol of almost four months of anti-government protest.

The injured included Arteaga, who was treated by paramedics in the street as blood poured down his face. He is seen in a hospital bed with bandages on his face and swollen lips. "We are going to keep fighting".

Venezuela's political crisis has entered a unsafe new stage as the opposition escalates street tactics to try and block a controversial new super-congress Maduro wants to set up with an election next weekend.

The Constituent Assembly, whose election rules appear created to guarantee a majority for the government even though it has minority popular support, could rewrite the constitution and disband the existing opposition-led legislature.

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The rally was also meant as a show of support for a slate of 33 magistrates appointed by the opposition-controlled congress to replace Venezuela's Supreme Court, which is closely allied with Maduro. The fast-escalating political showdown in the South American OPEC nation comes after more than 100 people have died and thousands more been injured in anti-government unrest since demonstrations began in April.

Earlier on Sunday, Ortega said the Constituent Assembly should have been preceded by a referendum and that 90 percent of Venezuelans opposed it, according to a statement from her office.

"They are not going to frighten me", Arteaga said in a video he posted on Twitter.

"We support the new judges because they will restore independence to the Supreme Court", said 43-year-old demonstrator Luis Torrealba, marching with his wife and teenage son.

Maduro has signaled he would proceed despite US threats of "strong and swift economic actions" and a symbolic vote against it by 7.5 million Venezuelans who participated in an unsanctioned ballot.

But the government is showing no sign of backing down, announcing that it will put 232,000 soldiers on the streets to ensure the Constituent Assembly goes ahead in a week's time.

The Socialist Workers Party urges working people across the United States and around the world to stand with their fellow toilers in Venezuela, speaking out against Washington's threats and attacks on Venezuelan sovereignty.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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