CARACAS – The Venezuelan opposition answered the call on Monday to block streets and halt traffic all around the country for 10 hours in protest against what they call the dictatorship of the Nicolas Maduro regime, after some opposition members tried to reduce the protest to 2 hours.
Though the demonstration, aimed chiefly at protesting against the National Constituent Assembly promoted by the Nicolas Maduro government to change the constitution, was supposed to start at 10:00 am, some citizens started closing down streets much earlier.
This Sunday saw a difference of opinion about this protest, since the MUD opposition alliance and the coordinator of the Voluntad Popular (VP) party and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Freddy Guevara, said the demonstration would not last 10 hours but only from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.
However, most anti-Chavistas wouldn’t stand for such a brief outing, particularly opposition leader Henrique Capriles who said: “Protest tomorrow as long as you want! You are the owner of your rights and of this country! Let’s go!”
Opposition lawmaker Juan Pablo Guanipa said for his part that in Zulia, the state he represents, the protest will be held the way it was after the first call to action, for 10 hours: “The big blockade tomorrow is from 10 am to 8 pm. Everyone in the streets! We’re in rebellion” #ElZuliaDecide.”
Legislator Juan Andres Mejia said protesters should carry signs promoting the July 16 referendum being organized by the MUD – without the support of the National Electoral Council (CNE) – to allow Venezuelans to vote on whether or not they support the National Constituent Assembly to be elected next July 30.
The MUD referendum will also ask voters if the armed forces should be required to defend the current constitution and the National Assembly, presently controlled by opposition lawmakers.
A third question will ask citizens to decide if they approve of limiting a politician’s time in office, holding free elections and forming a government of national unity.
Those backing the Maduro government have called the idea illegitimate and not binding, because such a process is not considered in the current constitution
Meanwhile, a wave of protests continues in Venezuela that up to now has left 91 people dead, hundreds wounded and many in jail.