Opposition Violence at Venezuelan University - What Really Happened

According
to eyewitness reports from Hands Off Venezuela members, violence broke
out yesterday in Caracas when opposition students arrived back from a
peaceful demonstration against the proposed constitutional reforms.

By Rodrigo Trompiz and Jorge Martin - Hands Off Venezuela

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Violent opposition students outside the School of Social Work (ABN)
Violent opposition students outside the School of Social Work (ABN)
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According
to eyewitness reports from Hands Off Venezuela members, violence broke
out yesterday in Caracas when opposition students arrived back from a
peaceful demonstration against the proposed constitutional reforms. Apparently
frustrated by the lack of violence, a group of about 250 of the
opposition students (many from other universities) went straight to the
Central University of Venezuela (UCV) to the School of Social Work
which is a stronghold of revolutionary students inside UCV.

There,
a group of revolutionary students was campaigning for a yes vote in the
referendum. They had an assembly for students/teachers/non-teaching
staff in the morning and were putting up posters and giving out
leaflets.

They were then attacked by the
opposition students who surrounded the School. Molotov cocktails and
stones were thrown, the toilets were destroyed, the door of the
Students Centre (Bolivarian dominated) was burned down, and around 150
people (students, teachers and non-teaching staff) were trapped inside
the building for several hours, with the violent opposition students trying to force their way into the building to lynch them.

Some
of the students inside the Faculty are nationally known Bolivarian
student leaders (including Andreina Taranzon who spoke in the debate
with opposition students at the National Assembly earlier this year at
the time of the RCTV protests). They managed to call the state TV and
reported live on what was happening.

The police are not
allowed to enter University premises owing to a law on University
autonomy. The Mayor of Caracas offered the possibility of the
Metropolitan Police going in to contain violence and allow people in
the School to come out, but the rector of the University, a member of
the opposition, refused the offer. The University authorities are
responsible for security on their own premises and did nothing to
prevent violence from escalating.

Violent oppositon supporters at the UCV- picture Reuters
Violent oppositon supporters at the UCV- picture Reuters

Meanwhile,
opposition TV stations were full of reports that masked Chavista
supporters had fired on opposition students and that one person had
been killed (this was then proven to be false, nine students were
injured, most of them from inhaling fumes from the fires started by
opposition students).

Finally, the head of emergency and
fire-fighting services was allowed by the rector to go into the
university and negotiate the safe exit of the people who were trapped
inside the School of Social Work by a violent mob of opposition
students.

The School of Social Work trashed by opposition students (ABN)
The School of Social Work trashed by opposition students (ABN)

The
international media has been "reporting" about these clashes as if
"armed Chavista gunmen" had fired on peaceful opposition students. A
member of Hands Off Venezuela was present at the University when the
violence broke out. He reports that the gunmen who originally opened
fire stopped him on his way through the UCV to the Bolivarian
University nearby. He reports that the two gunmen on the motorbike did
not look like students, but were more likely thugs hired for the
occasion and that they were shouting anti-Chavez slogans and boasting
of having shot at Chavistas.

Even news agencies now are reporting that Bolivarian armed men arrived at the UCV after the opposition students had sieged 150 people inside the building of the School of Social Work to help those sieged gain safe passage out:

Later, armed men riding
motorcycles arrived, scaring off students and standing at the doorway -
one of them firing a handgun in the air - as people fled the building.
(The Guardian )

What Hands Off Venezuela eyewitness report is that, faced with the
inaction of the University authorities, hundreds of students,
University workers and people from nearby neighbourhoods finally went
into the University to help the people at the School of Social Work
escape from the violent mob of opposition students. Some of them were
carrying guns, which was only normal considering the extremely violent
nature of the situation.

Bolivarian
students, teachers and non-teaching staff have now held a joint meeting
at the UCV and called for a demonstration against fascist aggressions
to take place in the UCV on November 15.

Videos of the violent attack by opposition students can be seen here: