Venezuelan students lead new protests

  • IANS

    IANS | Caracas

    May 5, 2017 | 10:03 AM
Venezuela, students, protests

(Getty Images)

Venezuelan students launched new protests against security forces amid escalating tensions provoked by the government's call to rewrite the Constitution.

Student leaders from numerous universities summoned several demonstrations on Thursday to support the opposition and to show their solidarity to the relatives of the 35 people who have died in the anti-government protests so far, as well as hundreds of others who were injured or arrested, Efe news reported.

The students of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) were stopped at the gates of their institution when they tried to march to the Ministry of Interior and Justice in Caracas.

Rafaela Requesens, student leader of the Federation of University Centres of the UCV (FCU-UCV), said that the President's proposal to amend the Constitution by convening the National Constituent Assembly "does not make sense" because "what has to change" is the government of Maduro.

The deputy president of the FCU-UCV, Alfredo Garcia, said at that meeting that "students have already been on the streets for more than 35 days", assuring "we will not abandon them".

The demonstration convened by the UCV was dispersed by the National Guard (GNB) with tear gas and, according to Requesens, also with rubber bullets and marbles.

The students of the private Catholic university Andres Bello (UCAB) submitted a letter, asking the Venezuelan society to remain united and also asked for the support of Pope Francis.

Meanwhile, Maduro said that four alleged protest leaders from Caracas were arrested and that they were conducting an "armed insurgency" against the state.

Maduro's government has invited the opposition alliance, Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) to a meeting on May 8, in which "the motivation of the presidential initiative" will be official presented to the National Constituent Assembly.