CARACAS – Venezuelan security forces dispersed with tear gas an opposition demonstration outside a military air base in Caracas where a young, unarmed man was killed by a guard earlier in the week and where dozens of demonstrators broke inside on Saturday.
Thousands of Venezuelan opposition protesters gathered in front of La Carlota air base in Caracas, where a young man was killed last Thursday when shot by a National Guard officer at point-blank range.
Though most of the demonstrators protested with banners and slogans, another small group entered the air base throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails after breaking through the railings around it.
“(4:45 pm) The repression in Altamira begins!!! Enough violence!!! We stay in the streets!!!” lawmaker Jose Manuel Olivares said on his Twitter account.
Before the demonstration broke up, opposition leaders and lawmakers, like Delsa Solorzano and Olivares, tried on several occasions to tell people not to try to enter the air base nor engage in acts of violence.
Olivares had said previously on the Vivo Play online channel that “whoever breaks into that military base is a spy” because “none of us has ever suggested trying to take over the base.”
“He or she is a spy because our message to the armed forces today is that entering that base makes no sense, we are not going to support those who enter that military base, our movement is to create new awareness,” he said.
Since April 1, Venezuela has been shaken by a wave of street demonstrations – for and against the government –, some of which have ended in violence, leaving at least 75 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, according to figures released by the Attorney General’s Office.