Venezuela: General Strike, 5 Dead and Protests Continue

Venezuela: General Strike, 5 Dead and Protests Continue

Venezuela: General Strike, 5 Dead and Protests Continue

Venezuela careened towards a showdown yesterday between anti-government protesters and security forces, as the death toll from months of demonstrations against embattled President Nicolas Maduro mounted - as did worldwide concern about the spiralling violence. But Maduro says anyone who marches against the "Constituent Assembly" risks up to 10 years in prison. The last such assembly was called in 1999, when former President Hugo Chavez oversaw the crafting of the current constitution, replacing one written in 1961. What Maduro needs to know is that the Venezuelan people won't let him enslave them. Incidents linked to protests on Wednesday and Thursday led to the deaths of seven demonstrators, the nation's attorney general's office said.

These deaths have raised the death toll to 105 during anti-government protests which began nearly four months ago.

"Venezuela's ban on protests will do nothing but worsen an already incredibly volatile situation", said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, in a statement. However, the Caracas metro worked normally, albeit transporting less passengers that it normally does.

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Venezuela's opposition, which controls the National Assembly, has urged civil disobedience against what it terms Maduro's dictatorship.

"I propose to the opposition that they leave behind their insurrectional path, that they return to the Constitution and we install in the next few hours a table of dialogue, national agreement and reconciliation, a national table of understanding, to talk about peace and the country's issues", Maduro said in the closing ceremony of the campaign along the main Bolivar avenue. With the opposition boycotting the process altogether, all the names on the ballot presumably are Maduro supporters, and only about 25 of them are known politicians. He's also said the opposition will be defeated once and for all.

The U.S. government ordered family members of employees at its embassy in Venezuela to leave on Thursday as a political crisis deepened ahead of a controversial vote critics contend will end democracy in the oil-rich country.

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Venezuela has been wracked by violence between government security forces and opposition groups since early June.

"Let our silence continue to speak out against Maduro's fraud throughout the country, on the second day of strike in Venezuela".

Borges, the national assembly leader, said it would mark a new juncture for the opposition.

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The Venezuelan government's security plan also includes provisions - such as the deployment of military personnel and experts to deal with electoral and military crimes - which are likely to facilitate a new wave of human rights violations.

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