Over the past two weeks, thousands of people have taken to the streets across Venezuela to denounce President Nicolás Maduro’s government with rally cries of “No more dictatorship!”
Demonstrations across Venezuela were sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the country’s National Assembly of its power last month. The court eventually reversed the decision but protests continued to snowball against Maduro’s government.
The managing editor of the Caracas Chronicles, Emiliana Duarte, has been covering the massive nationwide protests from the country’s capital. Duarte spoke to The Huffington Post about what the most recent political unrest has been like on the ground.
“The national guard is pummeling thousands of peaceful protestors,” Duarte said. She added that the use of tear gas has been excessive, before starting to cough.
“Sorry, I’m coughing from all the tear gas because it’s been a week of just breathing in tear gas that’s also expired,” she said. “The canisters that we pick up after the protests were finished were expired in 2015 and there’s no way of knowing if those gases have toxic effects.”
Duarte also discussed the unrest’s first victim, 19-year-old Jairo Ortiz. The law student was shot in the chest by police and killed while authorities were breaking up a protest in Caracas on April 6. The Interior Ministry denied claims that Ortiz was part of the protest and said the transit police officer who shot the student had been arrested, according to ABC News.
Watch the journalist discuss protests and Venezuela citizens’ “day to day struggle to survive” in the video above.