Tuesday, the unpopular socialist President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, was pelted with objects at the end of a military event. From Reuters:
State television footage showed a crowd mobbing the vehicle that Maduro was standing on as he waved goodbye at the end of a military event in San Felix, in the south-eastern state of Bolivar. Amid the commotion, people threw objects at Maduro, who was wearing a traditional Venezuelan suit and a yellow-blue-red presidential sash, while his bodyguards scrambled.
The state broadcaster then halted transmission.
In a separate video shared on social media, voices yelling “Damn you!” were heard as the vehicle apparently transporting Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, tried to make its way through the crowd.
Here’s a video of the incident. It’s difficult to tell what is being thrown. Some reports say they were eggs. At about 40 seconds you’ll see Maduro’s guards start to get excited. One of them appears to by trying to block something being thrown. Then a moment later Maduro is rubbing the top of his head and one of the guards is climbing across the hood of the vehicle. At that point, the station cuts quickly to an image of a statue:
All of this comes one day after government forces used tear gas to disperse protesters and apparently even shot gas rounds into a hospital. NBC News reports:
Protesters charge that government security forces tear-gassed a hospital in eastern Caracas. Video showed an active tear gas canister inside the grounds of hospital Policlinica Las Mercedes.
Daniel Beleli, a doctor who works at the hospital, can be seen bringing one tear gas canister up to the camera in one video. He says critically ill patients were inside the operating rooms when the gassing began and staff had to turn the air conditioners off to keep them from inhaling it.
Another video appears to show a helicopter dropping a tear gas cannister on protesters:
— Dip.Richard Blanco (@RichardBlancoOf) April 10, 2017
Protests have escalated in Venezuela after a recent decision by the country’s Supreme Court to take over the duties of the National Assembly. That decision was reversed after several days of protests. However, last week the government announced that opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who is considered a leading opposition contender to replace Maduro in coming elections, is banned from running for office for the next 15 years. The U.S. State Department issued a statement Monday saying it had “grave concern” about the ban:
The United States views with grave concern the Venezuelan government’s actions to bar Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles—a prominent, democratically-elected member of Venezuela’s political opposition and former presidential candidate—from participating in the country’s public life for 15 years.
The socialist government has already postponed state elections and canceled a referendum effort aimed at legally removing Maduro from office. There is no reason to think they are going to relinquish power through a regular democratic process.