Puebla, Mexico, October 28, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan authorities confirmed Thursday they had arrested almost a hundred people in connection with massive opposition protests Wednesday.
“Of the detainees, 90 were apprehended for ordinary offences, while seven were for violations of fundamental rights,” Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz stated.
Speaking to private broadcaster Venevision, Ortega said most of the arrests were linked to allegations of property damage and violence during Wednesday’s protests, which drew tens of thousands of opposition supporters to the streets of Venezuela’s cities. While many protests were peaceful, Ortega said authorities are investigating the shooting death of a police officer in Miranda state as a possible homicide. Footage from the day appeared to show the officer trying to negotiate with a group of protesters, before being gunned down.
"We haven’t been able to apprehend anyone, but we are on the trail of those involved,” Ortega said.
Property damage was also reported in at least four states, with protesters targeting public transport, universities and offices of the national electoral authority. In Cojedes, four socialist youth activists were allegedly beaten with blunt objects by anti-government demonstrators.
Ortega said a total of 86 people were injured nationwide, including 26 police and National Guard troops. She also vowed to ensure the seven officers arrested for alleged human rights violations face justice.
“If [police] go to a peaceful protest, there’s no need for violence,” she said, arguing police responding to non-violent demonstrations should be barred from carrying arms.
She also praised the work of Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, who announced earlier in the day he would oversee an investigation into the actions of police in Zulia state.
Reverol said he has already fired the head of the police force in the municipality of San Francisco in Zulia’s Maracaibo city. The move was in response to allegations police in the municipality were complicit in the injury of four opposition protesters.
He alleged a group of “unidentified persons in the company of police in the municipality San Francisco” set upon protesters, shooting three and beating a fourth.
All four victims have been hospitalised, but are in stable conditions, according to Reverol.