When Venezuelan opposition leader Freddie Guevara unexpectedly ordered protesters to march on the nation’s Ombudsman’s office, what started as a peaceful march soon descended into violence.
Seven different opposition marches were originally supposed to end their march on Caracas’ Altamira highway, where a final rally would take place. However, at the rally, Guevara redirected the protesters toward the Ombudsman office, a decision that resulted in violent riots and clashes.
During a live broadcast on Tuesday evening, Venezuela’s Vice President Tareck El Aissami dubbed the opposition’s plan “immoral.”
"What do they want with this violence? What are they hoping to achieve? It was irresponsible and criminal"
The violence comes fresh after a week of intense political debate, opposition marches and pro-government counter-demonstrations. Pointing to a right-wing newspaper headline that read "The Final Battle will be in Miraflores,” Aissami said Tuesday's violence was pre-planned.
He added that some items, such as tables and desks which were used to light fires and block roads, were stolen from schools in Chacao.
"All of this, we denounce!"
Bolivarian National Guard members cross an opposition-created roadblock | Photo: Reagan Des Vignes / teleSUR
Protesters faced off with police on Caracas' main highway, launching rocks and molotov cocktails. Army vehicles were eventually called in, retaliating with water cannons and tear gas.
Opposition lawmakers have been demanding the resignation of Supreme Court judges after they rescinded on a decision to temporarily assume the responsibilities of the National Assembly, which continues to be held in contempt for having sworn in three opposition lawmakers whose states are currently under investigation for voter fraud and vote buying during the 2015 legislative elections.
Opposition lawmaker Freddy Guevara approaches army barricades in an apparent show of surrender | Photo: Reagan Des Vignes / teleSUR
Elsewhere in Caracas, Chavistas held a march "in defense of the Patria," led by PSUV Vice President Diosdado Cabello. During the rally, he said that the only guarantee of peace for the Venezuelan people is in the Bolivarian Revolution.
Bolivarian National Guard Director General Fabio Zavarse congratulates his officers for "enabling democracy while disabling anarchy" | Photo: Reagan Des Vignes / teleSUR
He also stressed that while the right-wing conspires, the government of Nicolas Maduro is working for the welfare of the people.
"We must go out into the streets because the best antidote to a coup is the mobilized people,” he said.