Venezuela forces storm protest city of San Cristobal

March 31, 2014 | By | Reply More

Mar 31, – The National Guards rolled in under the cover of darkness, firing off tear gas and rubber bullets as they advanced with bulldozers and armoured vehicles towards the makeshift barricades.

hromedia Venezuelan Forces Take Control of San Cristobal, Heart of the Protests intl. news2After weeks of protests that have rocked his government, Venezuela’s autocratic left-wing leader Nicolás Maduro had ordered his security forces to regain control of San Cristóbal, the birthplace of the unrest.

Their mission was to destroy the hundreds of barricades that have paralysed life in the Andean city, an opposition stronghold of 650,000 in Venezuela’s “wild west” near the Colombian border.

The student-led protests that erupted here in early February over violent crime, food shortages and price rises quickly spread across Venezuela and there were fresh clashes in the capital Caracas this weekend.

Close to the capital, Leopoldo López, a charismatic opposition leader, is languishing in a military prison on charges of arson and instigating violence in connection with the protests that have now claimed at least 39 lives. Armed pro-government groups have also been accused of a string of attacks on opponents.

The Venezuelan government claimed victory as it cleared the streets of San Cristobal, the city where the protests sweeping the country originated more than six weeks ago.

The army and police took control of the city on Sunday, clearing the streets of barricades with thousands of troops, bulldozers, and armed vehicles, according to Authorities claimed there were no injuries during the operation, though police used stun grenades and tear gas against protesters, who responded with bricks and homemade mortar bombs.

Gen. Vladimir Padrino, the head of the National Armed Forces Strategic Operational Command announced the completion of the action on Sunday, referencing the weeks of clashes that left many Venezuelans afraid to travel after dark — a de facto “curfew.” “We just ended the curfew imposed by terrorism with no victims! Go PNB [Bolivarian National Police] and GNB [Bolivarian National Guard]!,”

Press journalist for HRO media – Norberto Lluch contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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