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Federal Foreign Office on the ongoing protests in Venezuela

20.04.2017

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (20 April) on the ongoing protests in Venezuela:

The Federal Government deplores the fact that there were violent clashes in Venezuela on 19 April during largely peaceful mass protests against the Government that have claimed three further victims.

We condemn violence as means of political confrontation. The Venezuelan Government has a special responsibility to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstrations and to prevent acts of violence against demonstrators.The Federal Government calls on all parties to refrain from violence.

The Federal Government urges the Venezuelan Government to make good on its promise given in the context of the international mediation talks held in the autumn of 2016 – releasing political prisoners, acknowledging the rights of the Parliament, establishing a schedule for elections and improving people’s economic and social circumstances – thereby creating the conditions for resuming the national dialogue.”

Background information:

On 19 April – a public holiday to mark the beginning of the Venezuelan war of independence in 1810 – several hundred thousand people took to the streets across the country to protest against President Maduro and his government. State security forces and paramilitary forces (militia) close to the regime engaged in systematic attempts to disrupt the demonstrations and to break them up with the use of tear gas. Two demonstrators and a police officer died after sustaining gunshot wounds and around 200 others were injured.

Since the beginning of clashes between supporters of the opposition alliance MUD and state security forces approximately two weeks ago, there have been a total of eight fatalities (seven of whom were demonstrators), as well as several hundred injured people and arrests.

The opposition has called for the demonstrations to be continued, blaming President Maduro for the country’s economic collapse and accusing him of breaching the constitution. Meanwhile, Maduro has accused the opposition of seeking to stage a coup with the support of the USA.

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