Venezuelan Attorney General Cites 'Excesses' Against Anti-Government Protesters

03/24/2014 12:49 pm ET
JUAN BARRETO via Getty Images

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's attorney general says some security force members have committed "excesses" in dealing with anti-government protesters, but insists most officers are following the law.

Attorney General Luisa Ortega says prosecutors are pursuing 60 investigations into alleged human rights violations by security force members in confronting protests that began five weeks ago.

Ortega said Sunday that 15 police officers have been arrested so far. She says the arrests show authorities intend to punish any violations.

The protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist administration have been mostly peaceful, but small bands of activists often clash with police and National Guard troops.

Protesters complain about Venezuela's high inflation, shortages of basic goods and violent crime. Maduro contends the opposition-led demonstrations are an attempt at a coup.

Also on HuffPost:

  • Getty Images
    Opposition activists throw stones during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 2, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activist protects himself from tear gas during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 2, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO / Leo Ramirez (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 02: Masked protesters look at national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and opposition supporters have protested for almost three weeks, virtually paralyzing business in much of the country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 02: A protester hurls a molotov cocktail at national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and opposition supporters have protested for almost three weeks, virtually paralyzing business in much of the country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 02: A protester hurls a burning tire at national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and opposition supporters have protested for almost three weeks, virtually paralyzing business in much of the country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An injured demonstrator receives attention during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 2, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Acitivists set up a barricade during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 2, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 02: A fire burns behind a barricade during an anti-government demonstration on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. With one of the highest inflation rates in the world, Venezuela has been in turmoil for almost three weeks as opposition protests have virtually paralyzed business in much of the country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 02: A protester hurls a molotov cocktail at national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 2, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest inflation rates in the world, and opposition supporters have protested for almost three weeks, virtually paralyzing business in much of the country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activist returns tear gas to riot police during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activist is arrested by members of the National Guard during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    National Guard members throw tear gas against opposition activists during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activists throws a homemade bomb during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activists hurls a molotov cocktail at national guard troops during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Opposition activists throw stones against National Guard members during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /Juan BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    An opposition activist returns tear gas against National Guard members during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /Juan BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Opposition activists throw stones against National Guard members during a protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas on March 3, 2014. Venezuelan protesters were preparing for a fresh round of anti-government demonstrations following a rare peaceful evening in Caracas. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /Juan BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: Thousands of protesters march during an anti-government demonstration on March 4, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Meanwhile, workers made last minute preparations for Wednesday's official ceremony marking the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez' death on March 5, 2013. The anniversary has been marred by three weeks protests against the government of Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Opposition demonstrators set a fire by a barricade as they protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 4, 2014. Thousands of flag-waving protesters took to the streets in Venezuela Tuesday to keep the pressure on the government on the eve of the anniversary of the death of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 were injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Opposition demonstrators protest against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on March 4, 2014. Thousands of flag-waving protesters took to the streets in Venezuela Tuesday to keep the pressure on the government on the eve of the anniversary of the death of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. At least 18 people have been killed and 250 were injured since a wave of protests began on February 4. AFP PHOTO /JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: Protesters sling stones at Venezuelan national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 4, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez' death on March 5, 2013. For three weeks protesters have blocked roads throughout the country and clashed with security forces of the government of Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: Protesters light a molotov cocktail to throw at Venezuelan national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 4, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez' death on March 5, 2013. For three weeks protesters have blocked roads throughout the country and clashed with security forces of the government of Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: A protester slings a molotov cocktail at Venezuelan national guard troops during an anti-government demonstration on March 4, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez' death on March 5, 2013. For three weeks protesters have blocked roads throughout the country and clashed with security forces of the government of Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: Venezuelan protesters flee while chased by Venezuelan National Guard troops on March 5, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Clashes between protesters and security forces continued up to the first anniversity of Hugo Chavez death, March 4, 2013. The Protesters have challenged Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro with three weeks of anti-government protests against his economic policies. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    CARACAS, VENEZUELA - MARCH 04: Venezuelan protesters flee while chased by Venezuelan National Guard troops on March 5, 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela. Clashes between protesters and security forces continued up to the first anniversity of Hugo Chavez death, March 4, 2013. The Protesters have challenged Chavez' chosen successor President Nicolas Maduro with three weeks of anti-government protests against his economic policies. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Venezuelan students participate in a meeting to commemorate the first anniversary of Hugo Chavez death, on March 5, 2014 in Havana. Venezuela on Wednesday marked one year since Hugo Chavez died, with his successor set to lead ceremonies for the 'eternal comandante' whose socialist revolution is now facing persistent opposition protests. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUE (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    People walks underneath a hanging doll despicting a Cuban doctor in protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro government in Caracas on March 05, 2014. Venezuela on Wednesday marked one year since Hugo Chavez died, with his successor set to lead ceremonies for the 'eternal comandante' whose socialist revolution is now facing persistent opposition protests. AFP PHOTO/LEO RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro (L) looks on before a military parade, next to Bolivian President Evo Morales (4-L) and Cuban President Raul Castro (3-R) in Caracas on March 5, 2014. The Venezuelan government on Wednesday commemorated the first anniversary of the death of President Hugo Chávez with a civic-military parade in Caracas Avenue West, accompanied by Latin American heads of state, amid opposition protests that met a month and have left 18 deceased. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Venezuelan Air Force aircrafts take part in a military ceremony to commemorate President Hugo Chavez's death first anniversary, in Caracas on March 5, 2014. The Venezuelan government commemorates the first anniversary of Chavez's death with a civic-military parade, accompanied by Latin American heads of state, amid opposition protests that met a month and have left 18 deceased. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Getty Images
    Venezuelan Army members march during a military ceremony to commemorate President Hugo Chavez's death first anniversary, in Caracas on March 5, 2014. The Venezuelan government commemorates the first anniversary of Chavez with a civic-military parade in Caracas Avenue West, accompanied by Latin American heads of state, amid opposition protests that met a month and have left 18 deceased. AFP PHOTO/JUAN BARRETO (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

YOU MAY LIKE

CONVERSATIONS