Venezuela’s socialist government opposition called for a two-day national strike against President Nicolas Maduro after another day of violent clashes on Saturday where the injured included a violinist famous for his musical protests.
Wuilly Arteaga, the 23-year-old has become famous for playing the national anthem on his violin in front of security lines as battles rage around him, has been injured in the fight for freedom against Venezuela’s socialist regime. Paramedics attended Arteaga in the street as blood poured down his face. He later tweeted a video from the hospital with a bandaged face and clutching his violin. “Neither rubber bullets nor pellets will stop our fight,” said Arteaga. “Tomorrow I will be back in the streets.”
On Saturday, several thousand protesters sought to march on the pro-Maduro Supreme Court in support of alternative magistrates appointed by the opposition. But security forces blocked them with armored cars and riot shields. Clashes ensued for several hours as hundreds of masked youths hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at National Guard troops firing tear gas from motorcycles.
Foes accuse Maduro of turning Venezuela into a dictatorship and wrecking what should be a prosperous economy. They want free elections and an end to two decades of socialist rule. “The Venezuelan people are not giving up, they are valiant, they will come out to defend democracy and the constitution,” opposition lawmaker Simon Calzadilla said at a news conference flanked by other coalition officials.
The opposition coalition, which organized a 24-hour shutdown this week that was heeded by millions and paralyzed large swaths of the South American nation, said the next strike would be on Wednesday and Thursday. Mass marches were also planned for Monday and Friday in an effort to force Maduro into aborting a controversial July 30 election for a new congress. But those in power never willingly give up their reign of terror.
“The repression has been brutal,” opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said. “The world has to understand what we are living through in the streets of Venezuela.”
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