News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 7, 2017: Dozens of people in a shopping mall in Venezuela Thursday, July 6, 2017, were affected after Venezuelan police shot tear gas into the mall.
The move was against opposition demonstrators who took cover inside the premises but it affected many innocent shoppers and mall workers including children, women and the elderly.
Volunteer medics had to assist those affected as protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas continued. A political and economic crisis in the oil-producing country has spawned often violent demonstrations by protesters demanding Maduro’s resignation and new elections. The unrest has left 91 people dead since April 1
Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, on Wednesday strongly condemned the July 5th attack on the Venezuelan National Assembly.
During the special meeting held at the National Assembly to celebrate the 206th anniversary of the country’s Declaration of Independence, groups of government paramilitaries, known as colectivos, armed with sticks and pipes, some brandishing knives and firearms, broke into the grounds of the legislature and violently attacked lawmakers and staff. Several members of the National Assembly were injured, including Americo de Grazia, Nora Bracho, Luis Carlos Padilla, Leonardo Renault, Armando Armas, Franco Casella, Luis Stefanelli and Richard Blanco, some suffering deep lacerations to the head and face.
Officials and journalists were also beaten. The OAS Secretary General said that “when the voice of the people is silenced with weapons and violence it is because nothing remains of democracy.”
The United States condemned the attack and also called it “an assault on the democratic principles cherished by the men and women who struggled for Venezuela’s independence 206 years ago” while the Canadian government urged the Government of Venezuela to restore democratic governance and respect the independence of the office of the attorney general and of the national assembly.