From as early as 11 a.m., opposition lawmakers began arriving at Plaza Brion in Chacaito Monday for photo and media opportunities, including National Assembly President Julio Borges and Vice President Freddy Guevara, whose elections have not been recognized by the Supreme Court. The right-wing leaders initiated the march with arms locked for about a block, but when the first stone was thrown at the Bolivarian National Guard the lawmakers mysteriously were nowhere in sight.
Right-wing led protests turned violent, once again, on the streets of Caracas Monday, marking the fourth day of aggravated violence in a week, with oppositions leaders again disappearing right before the violence was unleashed.
In anticipation of the violence, army personnel were called in early to assist, having to resort to the use of tear gas to disperse the crowd who threw stones and lit fires to create roadblocks.
Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez called on opposition leaders to maintain peaceful demonstrations. Via Twitter, he said the national guard would always defend the joy, peace, union and happiness of Venezuela. He added that the country is once again the victim of an attack by factional powers, supported by ultra-right sectors which insist on destabilization.
PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello in response to the violence issued a strong statement Monday, calling on the full extent of Venezuelan law to act on sectors of the extreme right that seek to create chaos in the country with acts of violence and terrorism.
"Enough of impunity — the opposition that uses violence and terrorism to impose on the majority who wants peace — must face the law," he implored.
Authorities have been working to avoid a repeat of the 2014 opposition guarimbas attack that resulted in the deaths of at least 43 people, with 800 wounded. Over the weekend, violent protesters vandalized the headquarters of the magistrate's executive office, located in Chacao. Venezolana Television journalists were also attacked on the streets by protesters, whose cries of “peace” precedes every violent march.
PSUV lawmaker Ricardo Sanchez also weighed in on the opposition violence. He said the Venezuelan right wing has used the electoral excuse to support the aggressions in the streets. However, he assured that Venezuelans will fight for their freedom and independence.
"Whatever they do, the people and this revolutionary and political leadership will not allow the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, to be overthrown. He emphasized that the right to protest is established in the constitution, but rejected the idea of the opposition leadership using the protests to commit crimes."