The Seriousness Of Venezuela Protests In One Ominous Photo

VenezuelaREUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawllinsAnti-government demonstrators clash with riot police at Altamira Square in Caracas February 24, 2014.

Venezuela’s is facing its worst unrest in a decade as at least 13 people have died since mass protests began on February 12.

This photo by Carlos Garcia Rawllins of Reuters says it all: Young, masked protesters watch riot police next to graffiti that reads: “[President Nicolas] Maduro we are going for you.”

Hardline student protesters are demanding that Maduro step down less than a year into his term, and thousands of their peers support them.

The turmoil began with a li
ttle-known incident on a college campus when students began peacefully protesting an attempted rape of a young woman on campus.

After a swift crackdown — several students were detained and allegedly abused — the protests expanded, drawing in non-students upset with the dismal economy and crime in general.

Tensions escalated as police tried to disperse growing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, imprisonment, and allegedly bullets. The Maduro government then called for the arrest of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on charges of terrorism, murder, and conspiracy.

On February 18, Lopez agreed to turn himself in, after one last rally. Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of the capital were filled to hear him speak.

Caracas Venezuela Protets February 18ReutersOpposition supporters of Leopoldo Lopez attend a rally before he handed himself over in Caracas February 18, 2014.

Six days later, protesters are still defiant as the government scrambles to mitigate the protests.

“We know we’re bothering people but we have to wake up Venezuela!” a 23-year-old student next to a barricade told Reuters in the affluent Los Palos Grandes district of Caracas.

VenezuelaREUTERS/Tomas BravoA man walks past a burning barricade in Caracas February 24, 2014.

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