Despite Government Obstacles, Over a Million Venezuelans March on Caracas

By: Karina Martín - Sep 1, 2016, 6:21 pm
Henrique Capriles Radonski, said that today will be "the largest mobilization in the history of the country" (elcorreodelorinoco)
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called the march “the largest demonstration in the history” of Venezuela. (elcorreodelorinoco)

EspañolDespite several threats and obstacles by the Venezuelan government, September 1’s “Great March on Caracas” is being called the “largest demonstration in the history of Venezuela,” according to opposition leader and governor Henrique Capriles.

On Thursday afternoon, the former presidential candidate and other opposition leaders gathered over a million protesters from all over the country to demand a recall referendum that would remove President Nicolás Maduro from office, though many reportedly failed to reach the capital due to government “barricades and roadblocks.”

According to Capriles, the fact the government tried to stop the march using the National Guard and the police “deserves the strong condemnation of all Venezuelans.”

Over the past few days, Maduro’s administration has tried to discourage the opposition, including deporting foreign journalists attempting to cover the march, blocking transit routes to prevent citizens from reaching the capital and banning domestic flights and buses bound for Caracas.

On Wednesday, August 31, social media exploded in response to a “brutal” military and police deployment at Plaza Venezuela — one of the most important and busiest areas in Caracas. In response, Jesus Torrealba, Executive Secretary of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) removed Plaza Venezuela from the list of meeting points during the march.

The government reportedly arrested opposition leaders and announced its own march by government supporters as an alleged “guarantee of peace” on the same day.

In the Chavista march, which was being held on Bolivar Avenue in Caracas, President Nicolás Maduro announced onstage that he would lift the immunity of all public offices to keep them from using it “to kill and commit crimes.”

However, opposing citizens continued marching, regardless of the obstacles imposed by the Venezuelan government.

So far, only teargas and assaults have been reported on the Pan American Highway, Las Mercedes and Plaza O’Higgins.

Torrealba said the next step after the march is to demand a recall referendum schedule — possibly in the form of a protest to be held tonight — as well as another mobilization September 7.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.