24th, 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – There were marches across Venezuela on
Saturday, both to support and protest the Education Law, which was passed on 14
August. Thousands marched and celebrated the new law in Caracas, while the opposition protest turned
violent after it deviated from its planned route.
marches in favour of the new law were part of a "Festival for Education and
Peace" which also rejected the increased U.S. military presence in Colombia.
of the new law were distributed at the marches and in Caracas there were a number of stages with different
music, dance, and theatre groups performing.
leader Robert Serra, speaking at the march in Caracas, highlighted the
importance of having won the equal vote on universities through the new law. "Many
have died for this benefit," he said, referring to the student struggle for
democracy on campus over the past several decades.
also criticised the opposition for setting up a "media show" rather than
sustaining a debate around the law. "We want universities by the people… for
the poor," he said. "We want educated people that aren't easily manipulated."
opposition march in Caracas tried to go beyond its designated route and some
marchers broke through the temporary metallic fence that police had rigged at
the end of the route.
protestors threw objects such as rocks, paint bombs, and bottles at the police,
who were unarmed. Police responded with tear gas. Six police were injured.
Mundial reported that on Friday in a meeting with public security personnel
about the marches, the opposition representative, Oscar Perez, left before the
opposition route had been decided on. Later, opposition legislator Ismael
Garcia said they would march where they wanted since they were not granted
permission to march to the National Assembly.
for Justice, Tareck El Aissami, said the opposition had prepared the violence
in advance. The public prosecutor, Luisa Diaz, ordered an investigation into
the opposition march to determine who was responsible for the violence.
leaders responded by requesting that the public prosecutor investigate Colonel
Antonio Torres for "ordering… the repression of the participants in the march
against the Organic Education Law."
14 August the National Assembly passed the new Education Law, which controversially
increases the role of the state in education and guarantees that education is "a
universal human right and fundamental, inalienable, non-renounceable social
duty, and a public service… governed by the principles of integrality,
cooperation, solidarity, attentiveness, and co-responsibility."
same day, supporters and opponents of the newly passed law marched. When police
intervened to keep the two marches away from each other, marchers threw rocks
and glass bottles, the police responded with tear gas, and there were several injuries.