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Journalists Covering Venezuela’s Protests Face Brutal Repression from Maduro Dictatorship

By: Orlando Avendaño - @OrlvndoA - Jun 6, 2017, 9:27 am
(Leo Álvarez)
The brutality of law enforcement was especially bad this time around, many witnesses said, but also unique in that much of the repression was focused on the press trying to cover the event. (Leo Álvarez)

EspañolProtests continued in Venezuela this Monday, June 5, with a plan by the opposition to plant themselves in main avenues and roads in the country’s capital of Caracas. This time, however, the repressive forces of the dictatorship were able to prevent citizens from organizing.

They also seemed to pay more attention to members of the media trying to cover the event, displaying equal aggression to them as to protesters.

The repression began at eight in the morning on the Francisco Fajardo motorway, which was taken by members of the Bolivarian National Guard. That location has become known as a gathering point for protests, but on Monday, it was empty.

The brutality of law enforcement was especially bad this time around, many witnesses said, but also unique in that much of the repression was focused on the press trying to cover the event.

“Get out of here or we’ll treat you like protesters,” some members of the National Guard told journalists at Francisco Fajardo motorway. Many of them were brutally beaten and attacked.

Venezuelan media outlet Globovisión had its cameras thrown off the freeway by the Bolivarian National Guard. Another journalist for RUNRUN, Francisco Zambrano, had his phone confiscated as well.

A journalist from Crónica Uno was reportedly shot in El Paraíso.

“I was robbed of my cell phone and gas masks,” journalist Mary Mena of TV Venezuela said. “They tried to hit me but I raised my arms and I didn’t let them.”

El Cooperante reporters also had their cameras, phones and tripods taken away.

A member of the Bolivarian National Guard told members of El Nacional to leave the area, beating them and taking their equipment.

Vane Tarantino, a photographer for El Pitazo, was shot with a pellet while covering the protest.

Faced with brutal repression and attacks on the press, opposition leader María Corina Machado, said: “Every time they rob, repress and insult us, they unite an entire country around one purpose: their exit now! We will regroup, we will not leave.”

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski claimed President Nicolás Maduro ordered law enforcement to stifle the press.

Orlando Avendaño Orlando Avendaño

Orlando Avendaño is a PanAm Post intern who resides in Caracas, Venezuela, where he studies social communication at Andrés Bello Catholic University. Follow @OrlvndoA.