San Francisco, June 17th 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- On March 14th, the London Evening Standard published an article in which it claimed “28 demonstrators were killed in the past month” in Venezuela. The figure referred to the anti-government protests that had broken out in the South American nation, in February.
However, as some readers and Venezuelan diplomats in London were quick to point out, the fatalities included 3 police officers at that time and, according to information gathered by official and independent reports, at least 10 of the 28 deaths had been of civilians, caused by the barricades and street traps set up by some rightwing protestors.
Alvaro Sanchez, charge d’affairs at the Venezuelan Embassy in London, stressed that the government has condemned the small minority of deaths which relate directly to an excess use of force by security forces when dealing with protestors.
About two dozen policemen have been arrested since the start of the protests. The head of military police was also removed from his post as part of measures taken by the government to impress the graveness of the offenses.
On June 5th the Evening Standard clarified; “A report of 14 March said 28 “demonstrators” had been killed in Venezuela during anti-government protests. We now understand that the number includes security forces as well as protesters.”
In a response released by the Venezuelan embassy, Sanchez wrote, “Violence from extremists in the opposition has left, to date, nine police officers dead. Even more innocent civilians have been shot dead while trying to clear opposition street barricades or have been killed in fatal crashes with these deliberately dangerous barricades.”
“It is important that due care is taken when reporting these tragic events to avoid giving the impression that state security forces are responsible for all or the majority of fatalities – as that is very far from the case.”