Although opponents of President Nicolas Maduro’s government blocked more than a dozen intersections in Caracas this Friday, there were no mass demonstrations on the first day of the temporary ban on protests decreed by the government, in the face of a controversial election that will take place Cable this Sunday. Maduro deployed more than 370,000 law enforcement officials across the country and banned protests that could disrupt Sunday’s election day, electing members of a National Constituent Assembly that could draft a new constitution and reform The public authorities. Members of the opposition, who for the most part did not run for seats in that Constituent Assembly and fear that this body will grant Maduro new powers, want to stop the elections this Sunday and have promised that they will continue to push with resistance in the streets .
About 120 people gathered in the afternoon of Friday in the Caracas neighborhood of Altamira. Some even blocked an intersection, a clear challenge to the ban on protests. They did not meet with the immediate presence of the police.
Protestants with masks blocked the street, partly with bricks, with wires, tires and various debris. Some of them had critical banners with Maduro.
The election of this Sunday comes after months of protests, often fatal, and in the midst of a deep economic crisis, during which there has also been an exodus of thousands of Venezuelans, who flee the country looking for opportunities and food and medicines that They are scarce in their homeland.
Protests were banned until next Tuesday and those who violate the order could face prison sentences of 5 to 10 years, according to the Venezuelan Interior Minister Justice and Peace.
“We’re not going to kneel, we’re not going to fail,” opposition leader and vice-president of the National Assembly Freddy Guevara told reporters after the announcement of the ban was made.
At least 112 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been injured since the protests began last April. Of those deaths, at least seven occurred on Wednesday and Thursday, during a general strike of 48 hours convened by the opposition.
In parts of Caracas and nearby cities, the streets were virtually empty during the strike, while some Venezuelans worked from home.
“All of Caracas is empty, showing firmness in its goal of achieving freedom,” Guevara wrote on Twitter Thursday.
However, hundreds of Maduro supporters filled some of the streets of Caracas on Thursday for a rally on the last day of the Constituent Assembly’s campaign.
“We are a united nation, a sovereign fatherland … and we are walking towards victory with our president Nicolás Maduro,” Rodolfo Marco Torres, Minister of People’s Power for Food, wrote in Twitter.